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November 2012

This post was NOT sponsored by Cupcake Prosecco but it SHOULD have been

I had a fabulous Thanksgiving, Internet. It was delicious, delightful, and rawther drinky. A long time ago I was into this book called Things You Need To Be Told by the Etiquette Grrls - oh dear, I seem to have fallen into an Amazon reviewer wormhole. People think this book is pretentious! People think gin and tonics are boring! People are not fans of Random Capitalization! (QUELLE HORREUR!) Well, here's my contribution to the reviews: LIGHTEN UP! 

So ANYWAY, I was super into this hilariously pretentious etiquette book and one of the things the authors recommend as a good time is A Very Boozy Thanksgiving, wherein you invite all your orphaned friends for a giant (and very boozy) dinner. I have always wanted to do this, but it's sort of unseemly to do in front of your grandmother, right?

BUT! This Thanksgiving? I opened the wine before dinner at my in-laws'. As the only real wine drinker at the gathering you feel a little silly opening the wine at, say, 2pm, but C'MON IT'S THANKSGIVING. You guys, I have the best in-laws. I stood on a chair to get the bottle down from the fancy rack and they're all, "Yes! Open it!" And it's THANKSGIVING, but they don't want you to help, they don't even really seem to care if you keep an eye on your own children, you're just supposed to sit down and relax and maybe read the Black Friday ads. The most I've ever done at my in-laws' is set the table, and that's not for lack of TRYING to help, lest you think I am a lazypants. No, I'm offering to help cook, to wash dishes, to wipe up, wipe down, clear, what have you, and they just act like I'm really super duper hilarious. Wash dishes? HO HO! Go sit down and put your feet up! FIL will do the dishes! He LIKES doing the dishes!

Yeah. Good times. I also like holidays at my in-laws' because Phillip has a pair of college age cousins I find charming and hysterical and one of my very favorite Thanksgiving Quotes was when the college senior said, "So Phillip, you're like, what? 28?" HAAAAAAA!!! HA! HA! HA!

(That means they think I'm 27!)

Oh wait! I forgot to tell you about Thanksgiving EVE aka Phillip's Last Day of Work! It was splendid. My sisters and one of my BILs came over after the kids went to bed and we put away two trays of nachos, half a pan of easy toffee bars, some red wine, and a bottle of Cupcake Prosecco. YOU GUYS. I have never been a big fan of white and/or sparkling wine. I mean, if there's nothing else, I'll drink it. But it's not my favorite, and when there are toasts I usually take a few sips of champagne and move on to the good stuff. HOWEVER. Cupcake Prosecco was quite possibly the most delicious thing I tasted all week and OH MY perhaps I should fork over a few extra dollars when I go to buy something champagne-like! I wanted to get something nice to celebrate and it was lovely. 

So! Thanksgiving? Good. The next day was a huge terrible boring-as-heck rainstorm and I took the kids to see Brave, which was also terrible and boring-as-heck. I did not mind at all when Molly got scared and demanded to leave in the middle. Then, as we do, we last-minute-invited friends for dinner and GUESS WHAT. THEY BROUGHT CUPCAKE PROSECCO. BEST FRIENDS EVER. 

Side note: not many of my super good real life friends are the drinky sorts, so the fact that @lizritz absolutely never blinks an eye when I refill her wine glass makes her, like, triply precious. 

Saturday? Saturday was wine with my two sisters at the Sound of Music singalong movie, which all of you should experience at least once in your lives. It was a riot. Also, I STILL DO NOT HAVE A DRIVER'S LICENSE! GROWN UP FAIL! I never ever tried to buy alcohol before age 21 (I SWEAR), but in the last week I purchased alcohol three times without an ID - once at the grocery store, where I gave a nervous giggle and they passed me through anyway (I AM THIRTY-THREE AND LOOK IT), once at the Sound of Music where I got my sister to buy my glass of wine, and once AFTER the singalong, when we went to happy hour and I only ordered a drink because the waitress didn't card anyone ELSE. Except then she carded EVERYONE. (I got my drink anyway. And left a large tip. GAH.) (My inner rule follower: DYYYYYYING.) (The waitress says I could totally use my sister's ID by the way. Which is funny, since I'm FOUR YEARS OLDER.)

Sunday? What was Sunday? There was probably more wine. 

It was just a very CELEBRATORY handful of days, Internet. VERY fun. VERY cheery. VERY "Look At Me Deleting All My Work Email Off My Phone Forever And Ever!" I know this post is obnoxiously WINE WINE PROSECCO MORE WINE! but really, I just felt like we were celebrating every day. The entire goal for the weekend was: Have as excellent a time as possible. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED.

Phillip started his new job on Monday, but since he's doing an online training the first week, an online training that starts on East Coast time, he's doing it from home. Not even going to the office. Weird! But that just meant today he was done at 3:30, like REALLY done, no phone calls, no emergency texts, no conference calls at weird times. And we've just been hanging out all day and tomorrow is more of the same. It's crazy. I know he'll have to go to the office NEXT week, but today I made Cherry Cabernet Brownies with a red wine ganache JUST BECAUSE IT SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO DO. 


T-Three Hours

Three more hours until Phillip is home. 

I think... if this wasn't the end of all the travel insanity? I'd be out of my mind. Single parenting feels like the norm. Totally taking care of the house and making all the domesticky decisions on my own is the norm. Making decisions about the kids without consulting Phillip? The norm. Collapsing on the couch after I've put the kids to bed and dragging myself to bed ten minutes later? Very much the norm. I am actually worried about what it will be like to live together again. I hope that doesn't sound TOO dramatic, I mean, it's not like we're a military family and he's been deployed for 12 months. But I 1) most definitely did not sign up for this and 2) hate that it feels NORMAL! What will it be like to have that fifth person around again?! This is not the way I want things to be. I can't believe what the last three months have been like. If he wasn't quitting I'd be SO ANGRY.

Honestly, even if he wasn't starting a completely new job, the end would probably be near. A super huge project is going live, everything happens in Atlanta, and things keep getting pushed back, but still, next year if he were still working there, it most likely wouldn't be travel at this level. At least he has a job. At least I get to do what I want to do. I didn't have to go to New Orleans for five days. Get over yourself, Self.

But that's what we've been telling ourselves for a while now, that this is just a little aberration and things will even out an go back to normal. Except: this IS the new normal. I was talking to Liz last night and she said something like "you just went straight from grad school to business trips" and I was all YEAH I DID! I don't want to throw myself a huge pity party here or anything, but I usually err on the side of Not Acknowledging When Things Have Been Crazy And/Or Hard and it's GOOD for me to say: Dude. This has been mildly unpleasant.

That said... Maybe it was the five days away with internet friends, maybe it was knowing that the end is near, maybe it was God giving me a little badly needed grace, maybe I just tried to be a grown up for once, but I've been surprised at how easy the last two weeks have been. Even the last two days, with Jack at home instead of in kindergarten - I'm really having FUN with these kids. Sure, they're still bickering and making giant messes and wanting three meals a day, but I've, like, PLAYED with them. We've made a serious amount of cookies.* We've read stories and made crafts and you guys I HATE doing crafts. We've laughed a LOT. We've had FUN. 

And wow, I love my husband. I mean, that's sort of required. But in the same way I've sort of been kept from freaking out on him, I feel like he's been kept from stressing out on me and needing more than I feel like I can give. I came home from NOLA talking about all the people I was going to visit - on my own, for days at a time, with money in our savings account - and he was all, "Yeah, you really should do that." He's the one who told me I should go volunteer for a week at this crazy missions conference in St. Louis. I just feel so lucky.

I did not start this post thinking, "I will write about what I'm thankful for!" But it appears that I did. I'm thankful for my 100%-supportive-of-my-extracurriculars husband. My silly kids. My sweet baby. Our filthy house and Jack's school and two sets of grandparents who never say no to watching our kids. 

His last day is tomorrow. There's a bottle of champagne in the fridge for when he gets home. I may decide he needs to take me shopping for diamonds in the evening, as thanks for my wifely sacrifices. Or maybe we'll just watch four straight episodes of Homeland, go to bed early, and enjoy having to do absolutely nothing for Thanksgiving at his parents' house. 

I am REALLY thankful I have this place to write it all out, and continually yet happily mystified that people read it. 

 

*Peppermint Wreaths
Chocolate Crinkles
Easy Toffee Bars
Cranberry Bliss Bars
English Jam Bars
Red & Green Thumbprints
Salted Caramel Thumbprints
Sugar Cookies (not yet decorated)
and 
Fudge 


Yes, it's too early. No, I don't care.

Yesterday (yesterday? I think?) Elizabeth tweeted this: 

I MIGHT have sniffed and wiped something out of my eye. 

But whatever YES I AM thinking about presents before Thanksgiving. SUE ME. I am also baking Christmas cookies and figuring out how to decorate our Christmas party this year and wondering if it's too early to get out my box of decorations so I can LOOK THROUGH IT not PUT IT UP, all the while it is Not Even Thanksgiving Yet but WHATEVER. STUFF TO DO.

Phillip Gift: I can't tell you. But I think he might like it. 

Kid Gifts: SHOOT I DON'T KNOW. Phillip came home with big kid Legos on his last business trip and those went over SO WELL. We might get them bigger fancier sets for Christmas. They seriously spent HOURS putting those things together and those hours are worth so much Christmas gift spending money to me. Also, I know some people are super offended by separate superpink GIRL Lego sets, but MY girl loved it, was totally into it, built the whole thing herself, and I am a fan of pink SO. We will just go ahead and gender everything in the Cheung household. My kids do it without prompting anyway. 

Also... maybe some clothes? They get Christmas PJs. No, probably a Nice Book or four. I always set these limits on presents and then I go to an actual store and I buy everything. ALMOST. I'm not going ALL crazy. 

Parent Gifts: Blargh. Sometimes we get them a fancy joint gift, like the time we got them a fancy espresso machine. That went over well for about a month, then it broke, then no one seemed interested in replacing it. My dad is really into gadgety things, but my mom couldn't care less. Actually, probably the best thing to give my parents is A Book About Something Historical, Probably A War and a Framed Photo Of Grandchildren. So we might go with that this year. 

In-Law Gifts: HARDER. Phillip is in charge of his dad. I try to get his mom something a DAUGHTER would give her, although, now that I'm thinking about it, Phillip doesn't do too bad with his mom. He did think to get her the Downton Abbey set last year. I think my most successful MIL gift was a really sturdy and cute handmade cloth bag I bought at the farmers' market in my parents' town. 

My Sibling Gifts: We don't give sibling gifts anymore. Too many nieces and nephews. Also it's boring to buy for the boys. My sisters and I give each other birthday presents and some years we clandestinely hand out Christmas presents. I bought something ridiculous on the Target clearance rack for one of them and I cannot WAIT. I DID, however, just buy my pregnant SIL a gift - maybe not for Christmas, but she's due in January and I wanted to get her a little something. I actually bought her something from the Blathering 2012 sponsor! I know! THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST! But Pish Posh Mommy sent a little something for each attendee this year and you guys, this was cute stuff. I'm SUPER suspicious of sponsors and swag and all that, but I thought the diaper bag inserts and clutches and wet bags were cute and relevant to our group. Anyway, I came home with a wet bag that I will definitely be using during the wading pool summer months, and then I thought my SIL might like one for when she tries out my stash of cloth diapers. I already have a wet bag to give her, but the Pish Posh Mommy ones are WAY CUTER. Also, they gave us a code for 30% off! BLATHER30. If you are interested. NOT SPONSORED! PROMISE! I actually really do think they are 1) useful and 2) adorable and 3) something she probably won't get from anyone else.

Friend Gifts: Eh, we don't really do this either. Sometimes if the mood strikes or I see something perfect. Usually I bring a giant plate of cookies or a cake or bread or one year I actually made JAM. I'd like to get better with my PRESENTATION - I'm lacking in the cute paper and ribbon and tags department. But I know the cookies taste good and that's what counts. 

Hostess Gifts: WINE.

Teacher Gifts: Oh, I have no idea what we'll do this year. I'll probably obsess over Pinterest for a good week, then break down and call the Professional Teachers in my family and see what sorts of things they haven't hated. Last year I gave Jack's preschool teacher an umbrella as an end-of-the-year thank you gift. So I can't say that I'm really all that qualified to suggest anything in this category. 

Nieces & Nephew Gifts: SO HARD. I have purchased everything from remote control helicopters to purple glitter eyeliner to beautiful picture books to cheap puzzles to shoes. I usually get each "set" of nephews/nieces something similar and I haven't seen anything good yet this year. (HALP!)

My Sister-in-Law On Phillip's Side Of The Family: AIIIIIIIEEEEEEE. This is why I need the Style Lush gift guide. Every year I am stymied, every year I buy her something EBJ picked out. 

Okay my kids are finally bored riding their bikes in the garage which means I have to go be a parent and figure out what to feed them for dinner. In case anyone is wondering, a chef and/or cleaning lady would be a GREAT gift for ME. 


Almost there

At some point on Saturday night, in New Orleans, very very far away from home, I realized my driver's license was missing. I dumped out my purse, went through all of my pockets, combed through the suitcase - nothing. I decided I'd probably lost it in the SeaTac airport, because I'm the sort of person who stuffs her boarding pass and ID in her back pocket while going through all the airport indignities, instead of in a purse or wallet or whathaveyou and, well, this is exactly the sort of thing my FIL likes to warn me about. 

I called my airline - they were unhelpful. I called Phillip - he didn't answer. I decided that I would just drink a little bit more that night, the better to accomplish my only plan, which was Hope For The Best. I mean, I couldn't possibly be the first tourist in New Orleans to return to the airport without photo identification. Not that I had any idea what would happen and for all I know MAGGIE CHEUNG is on the No Fly List, but I just didn't see the point of the New Orleans airport security detaining an overtired 30-something mommyblogger for not following FIL's advice and wearing a vest with ninety-seven zippered pockets so nothing falls out.

I got to the airport right on time for someone who has not lost her license. All attempts to get there early were thwarted by Saints traffic. (Also ripped up streets, one ways, u-turns, and imbecilic drivers.) (Not MY driver. She was lovely.) I tried not to panic about this either. (My preferred method of Not Panicking is stuffing my phone in my pocket, closing my eyes, and chanting Hail Marys.) 

At the airport I walked straight up to the ticket agent, put on my best Yes, I'm Well Aware I Am A Huge Idiot face, and said, "I have my boarding pass on my phone, but I lost my driver's license and I don't have any other photo ID." (Side note: HOW COOL is having your boarding pass on your phone?! SO COOL.) She didn't even give me a second glance, though. Just typed typed typed and handed me a printed boarding pass and sent me off to security. 

Where, again, there was no line. Just a youngish TSA dude checking IDs and boarding passes. I put on my Face again, apologetically explained my lack of identification, and again, No Big Thing. I think if I'd been in Seattle they would have dragged me down to a windowless interrogation room, but in New Orleans he just said, "Eh, you got anything else with your name on it?" So I started pulling out credit cards and insurance cards and my Target debit card and some TSA lady off to the side shouts, "Girl, don't you got a Costco card?!" 

I looked at the TSA dude. "That COUNTS?"

He said, "Amazingly enough, yes it does."

He called his superior over who went through my little stack of cards, examined my Costco picture, inquired as to why I cut my hair, and waved me through security. I didn't even get a pat down. I got to spend my last hour in New Orleans chatting leisurely with the dry and pithy @megglesP who has many a mortuary science tale with which to totally gross you out. (THANKS MEGAN!)

All of that just to tell you: I made my flight and got to see Phillip at the Atlanta airport. He took an early flight so we could have an hour or so to hang out. It was... bizarre. He met me at my gate, asked me what I wanted for lunch, knew exactly where he was going, which, I suppose, only makes sense as the Atlanta airport IS his home away from home. I spilled all my Blathering details over a less-than-delicious TGIFriday's salad, he walked me to my gate, and I flew home to kids and bedtimes and diapers and double checking the doors are locked before I go to bed.

He comes home late tomorrow night. We have Jack's parent teacher conference early Friday morning and then he'll go to work. We have Saturday together - a friend just texted to see if we want to have dinner this weekend and usually I'm all YES, PEOPLE INVITED US TO DO SOMETHING, WE ARE ALL OVER THAT, YAY PEOPLE LIKE US, but Saturday is the only day we have. He leaves again on Sunday, comes home on Tuesday. Wednesday, praise God in heaven, is his last day of work. There might be a lot of celebratory drinking that night. And please, please do not ask me why he is traveling two out of his last three days of work. We've been over this multiple times and I still don't understand it. 

But then? 

Things are going to be different. 

I'm not sure how. And probably not right away. It's the holidays, things are crazy, and I'm going on ANOTHER TRIP after Christmas, a LONG ONE. I still haven't let myself think about that one. Childcare juggling, more hotel rooms, not sleeping, strange city, overwhelming event, utter lack of beignets EEK.

But after that? January-ish? Things are going to be different. I MEAN IT.

 


All of my new (and old) best friends

Sometimes I'm all, "Hmm, self, how in the world did you get involved in this Blathering thing?" 

I am not a party planner extraordinaire, with exquisite taste and grand vision, like EBJ.

People don't naturally gravitate towards me, finding themselves welcome and comfortable in my circle of hurts-your-stomach laughter, like Emily. 

I don't communicate like Jennie, who leads with kindness and gentleness and clarity. 

I don't think about the options, the details, the ways to improve, the ways to grow, the heaps of potential, like A'Dell. 

I have absolutely no useful business skills (or amazing accessories), like Kristie. 

No one has ever considered me instantly approachable and warm, like Manda, whose smile and tension-easing cheer fills a room. 

But because those guys do what they do, I got to waltz into a gorgeous party last Friday night and discuss enneagram types and murder mysteries and yes I HAD seen the sign for the WWII museum in town. I went from recognizing barely any faces at brunch Friday morning (thanks Sarah, for matching the names to bloggers!) to feeling that let down sadness at the airport on Sunday because I could count at least five or six people I hadn't even said HELLO to. 

I knew that going in. I knew I wouldn't be able to meet and chat with everyone. I knew it would be a bummer - for ME not for YOU, obvs - but man, I didn't realize how MUCH of a bummer. For most of today I've been wondering whether the fact that I don't currently have any expensive habits means I can start one, namely jetting about the country for long weekends all year. 

(Phillip is away this week and unaware that I am busy distributing all his frequent flyer miles between Sacramento and Chicago and Austin and A Tiny Town and DC and OMG EVERYWHERE ELSE.)

Thanks for the Sazerac and the French75, the brownies for breakfast, the exciting news you shared, for laughing at my gnarly rug burn tale. Thanks for excitedly telling me your enneagram type, for the rides, for the stories that made me cry, for hugging me back when you're not a hugger (I knew and I hugged you anyway). I won't forget your FedExed dress or your amazing and generous sister or that thing your in-laws did. I loved sitting at that table with you. I already miss cheese fries, a stripe of glitter on my nose, all the conversations in beautiful courtyards. Oh, and thanks for not cuddling.

I'll see you all in Charleston next year, yes?


I've unilaterally decided the 2014 location

As I drove my kids home from my parents' house today, I planned a Seattle Blathering in my head. 

Thursday night Organizer Dinner at  Delancey.

We will book a whole floor for attendees at the downtown Hyatt. You can light rail yourself over there from the airport.

Thursday night drinks at... oh gosh. I kind of dig the W hotel lobby. Or ANYWHERE?

Friday brunch is dim sum at Jade Garden. OR O'Asian, but O'Asian's in a boring downtown office building and Jade Garden is in the International District AND you can go to Uwajimaya afterwards and that just sounds like more fun. 

Friday night party at this Lower Queen Anne condo. Afterwards I will buy it and live there myself.

Saturday morning 2.8 mile run around Green Lake. (Not me, I will be in bed.)

Saturday breakfast at Green Lake Bar and Grill. We can take over the restaurant.

Afternoon excursions to the market, Capitol Hill, Seattle Center, downtown shopping, the waterfront, Shalini's house, 

Saturday night dinner at Matt's In The Market. Again, I want the entire restaurant. 

Sunday breakfast at the condo - I volunteer to put in an order at Macrina Bakery and deliver it myself. 

VOILA. 

 


Please pray for my tin can

I SHOULD be in bed, since my BIL is coming over in the middle of the night to take me to the airport, but I am too busy being nervous about my airplane ride. I am not a fan. It's going to take me pretty much all day to get to New Orleans and I intend to survive with Dramamine, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and some TV Phillip is copying over to my phone. Also snacks. Put me in an airport and I'm suddenly buying all the chocolate and bagels and coffees and overpriced cookies. I think I feel like I DESERVE to snack if I'm going to be trapped inside a tin can for hours. Probably not the best thing to do, as I did the exact opposite of Dieting during the weeks before NOLA. I intended to shed a few pounds so it wouldn't matter if I packed a few beignets on during the trip. Now I might have to wear my pajama pants on the return flight. 

Also there was an election today? The President is speechifying as I type. Now that it's over, mostly, I'm glad I was out with friends tonight, getting my toes done and eating French fries. I love them more than I love cable news. 

It's a bit crazypants in Mighty Maggie Land right now and I'm feeling guilty about leaving. Then I think, "Oh, it will be so nice to get AWAY." Then I creep into Emma's room and consider picking her up and snuggling in the rocking chair for a while... I miss my baby ALREADY. I am that mom, you guys. I AM THAT MOM. 

I creeped into Jack and Molly's room too. They were both snoring. I missed them already too, until dinnertime when they both lied to me about scarfing all the leftover Goldfish on Emma's high chair tray. Their dinners: uneaten. The giant mess of crackers on Emma's tray: GONE.

"Did you eat all the crackers?"

Two heads shake no. 

"Who ate all the crackers?"

Two sets of shoulders shrug. 

What, do they think I'm an idiot? Seriously? And I wasn't even MAD about them eating the goldfish crackers! My actual thought went something like, "What industrious and opportunist little children I have! Well done, sneakypantses! But you BETTER eat those noodles!" But you know, one little ridiculous lie turns Mommy into RAGING WACKO LADY who takes away all your behavior chart cards, the iPad, the Halloween candy, and all the Fun for the REST OF TIME. 

Yeah, maybe I need this carb-heavy getaway. 

LATER GATORS!


A general taking account of things

I have absolutely no self control around candy. None. I am deadly super serious. The low carb thing generally works for me and I can go around ignoring bread and pasta and rice for days, but stick a rectangle of Hershey chocolate in front of me and it instantly disappears. I've written about this before. I have no stopping point with chocolate. 

Which is why I just had to bag up the leftover Halloween candy and throw it on this little decorative ledge in our kitchen that I can't reach without a chair, and maybe some tongs since I threw it pretty far back. I'm not foolish to think that will keep me from eating the rest of the chocolate, but it MIGHT keep me from eating the rest in under two hours. 

I've already had six pieces for breakfast. I AM SERIOUS, YOU GUYS. IT IS A SICKNESS.

Jack is missing his second day of school. He seems totally fine this morning, but yesterday he threw up twice and moped around all day and slept through the afternoon and wanted to go home in the middle of trick or treating. That is legitimate unwellness. So I emailed his teacher last night and let her know he wouldn't be in today. Right now I'd be barking at everyone to get in the car, we're gonna be late! But we're still in our pajamas (some of us are changing into our costumes), inspecting our candy, arguing over which TV show to watch next. It's kind of nice, actually. 

It's November, which, you'll agree, is a smidge insane. I have a thirteen-month-old today, for one thing. It's All Saints Day, my favorite of the Catholics-have-to-go-to-church days. It's the day I intended to start NaNoWriMo, but HAHAHAHAHA that is so not going to happen. It's the month of the Blathering. It's when I send my Christmas party invitations. It's rain and gloom and pinecones and pine needles all over my porch and deck and wearing sweatshirts to bed and oh God we won't see sun again until July 5. I meant to have these five pounds lost by November so I could gain them back over the holidays without heaps of guilt, but please note the six pieces of candy I ate for breakfast. 

My mom and dad are visiting us today, mainly because I asked my mom to alter a dress I want to bring to New Orleans and I forgot it at her house. Plus my phone charger. I forget everything. I am that person, even when I make a giant effort to NOT be that person. I'm hoping to do a little shopping later - Molly needs a winter coat, I have a pile of stuff to return. Otherwise it sounds nice to stay in my pajamas and dirty hair. 

I have cleaned a toilet this morning. I am not all candy and slothfulness.

I've been thinking a lot about the Blathering, a lot about our Christmas party, a bit about Actual Christmas and how to make it Not Exhausting. I feel like this is a month to just power through, what with all of the travel and holidays and new jobness. And December might be more of the same, though I'm throwing in a party and a trip to St. Louis. I've started saying, "Well, maybe we can get together in JANUARY..." 

Which isn't to say I don't love November and December. It's chocolate season.

EJ is sleeping better, more, and more predictably than she ever has in her life. Molly is... well, I think we're seeing more and more of Actual Molly, rather than Molly As An Appendage Of Jackson. Which is kind of amazing and awesome and exciting. And Jack, gosh, I mean, if he's not making me crazy he's Becoming A Big Kid and that's its own intimidating and bittersweet and wonderful and shocking thing. He holds my hand when we walk back tot he car when school is out and every time I wonder: is this the day he stops holding my hand? 

He's only five. That can't happen yet. 

November: we're nine hours in and things are looking up.