Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last First Haircut

Charlotte got a haircut today! Her first haircut. Yes, she is three. Yes, I waited longer with her than the others. Yes, I am babying her. No, I am not sorry.

It's not that her hair looked too scraggly or bad, it was just very uneven and I want it to be able to grow out better, so it was totally time to get it cleaned up. And also she has been asking for months and months, so there is that too.

She was sweet and adorable and hopped right up, and then these little long wisps were no more.

Yes, I cried. Right there in Great Clips. Parenting, man.

It was fast and easy and suddenly done and now she has a cute little bob that looks much healthier than before, and will grow out more evenly. I thought she would look older but she almost looks... younger? But still my booler.

(Once they gave her a lollipop she basically refused to look at me for pics again til we got home.)

Here's the before and after! (And she thought this new Daniel shirt would be the biggest part of her day!) (Well, for her, it probably was.)

Happy first haircut, baby girl!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some Things I Have Been Mulling

Here are some things I have been mulling in my head this week (brace yourself, this is bound to be profound) (*shakes head no*):


I do think overall, I like my iphone better than my android phone, but that is MOSTLY because of imessage. And it isn't that imessage is inherently better than anything else, it's just that everyone else is on it, so it is therefore convenient. Herd mentality something something. And the stream/cloud photo sharing feature is also kind of great. I find myself using that a lot with various people.

BUT I will say these things about the iphone vs my old android:
1. The camera is not better.
2. The battery frankly sucks.
3. The auto-correct on the keyboard thinks it is super smart but it is not as helpful as it could/should be, and not nearly as smart as the android spelling corrector.
4. I am about to have a big ol' fight with my home button, because I have one of those glass screen protectors on it, which means I need a button cover, yet good button covers (which go flush against the curve of the button DO NOT EXIST. Can someone please get on this?
5. Why can you not purchase content from within the kindle app? (Or even link to the mobile site to do it?) (Or purchase downloadable content from the Amazon app?) Stop forcing me into Safari! Just whyyyy?
6. I have this new chevron case for my phone (my other one got dyed blue in my jeans pocket and I keep forgetting to run it through the dishwasher), which is cute but cheap and hmmm I'm still deciding.


These are all very first world housewife problems, so I should share here with a pic what I already told facebook: Charlotte dropped a crayon in the potty while she was pooping the other day, in case you think three-year-olds don't have problems too. (Like... nine seconds after I took this pic.)


Nathan has been asking a lot of questions about coffee recently. Like, how to make it. And what is that brown dirt stuff in the bag? And then trying to clarify it all -- so, the brown stuff is the coffee, and the water you pour over the brown stuff is just water that tastes like coffee, but that's not the actual coffee, just the coffee you drink? When I told him the coffee itself was actually ground-up beans that had been picked and then cooked, it blew his little mind. We had to look up a YouTube video. Coffee comes from farmers! So does chocolate! It's also beans! And they look very similar as a plant but then they make foods that look very different by the time we eat and drink them, and isn't that cool mom? And sometimes you can put coffee in chocolate! -- so anyway, now he calls it my liquid coffee which isn't actually coffee, just water that tastes like coffee because you poured it over some ground up beans. "Are you going to drink more coffee mom? Like the liquid kind." Yes, sweetie. People know what you mean when you say drink coffee. In related news, BUDDING PEDANT UP FOR GRABS, LOVES WEEKEND VISITS.


Also, those look like children who need their own tervises, yes? They want to drink coffee "coffee" like mommy, which is sweet and I will indulge it forever, but maybe I don't want my cups all dirty every day, and maybe we should find some kid-sized ones and splurge, finally? I think I shall procure them for Christmas maybe.


Everyone else is using the Timehop app, right? This app really speaks to my soul, since I have basically been my own walking Timehop for years. I've been using it for some time, like (I assumed) everyone else in America. But then I mentioned it to a friend, a very smart friend (who is sometimes admittedly clueless when it comes to the thumb of pop culture) (like, maybe once he asked me who Taylor Swift was? I can't remember the details) (*cough*) and he had never heard of it so maybe other people haven't either?

Anyway. It's a simple premise. It tells you what you were doing x number of years ago today. If you're thinking this is information you might not want or need, let me help you understand something: YOU ARE WRONG. Because of this app, I know that seven years ago today, my current second-grader was exactly a month old, and looks like this:

So. It's an app you need, is what I'm saying.

That's all I got today. I will go have some more liquid coffee now.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of Second Grade

Nathan started second grade today, y'all. SECOND GRADE. Every year I am all-caps shocked that he is a year older, a grade ahead in school, etc etc, and I am going to go ahead and assume now, three kids and seven years into this parenting thing, that that will never stop.


(He spilled hot chocolate on those yellow shorts he was so insistent on wearing for his first day, which he also insisted on putting on before drinking said hot chocolate, even though someone super smart *ahem* advised against it, and fifteen minutes before we took this photo, there was a little bit of eye rolling and laundering-by-baby-wipe-and-hair-dryer, but it worked out okay. For his shorts. Which he loves. So.)

So he was very excited and easy about his first day, but he did want me to drive him. And then he wanted me to come in with him (Mark is out of town so that meant parking several blocks away and schlepping all four kids inside, which went better than I expected, actually), and then he was a little teary and wanted extra hugs, but then he was excited and fine again.

He has a desk! Inside which he can put books and notebooks and and and! (Not just a table.) His favorite friend from last year is in his class again, and his teacher-to-be is on maternity leave, but I am trying to have faith that the interim situation will be sorted out and he will be none worse for the wear. And in the meantime, desks!

So we got him settled, and then I buckled the other kids into the minivan, instagrammed a picture of him, and drove through starbucks with my back-to-school tears, because I am a mom cliche.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yesterday Today Tomorrow, Aquarium Version - With Bonus Existential Overthinking and Also (Possible) Crab Sex

Yesterday - Ali went with Nick and Barbara down to Lake Wateree, and Mark was off work, so we had a rare free Friday as a family! Nathan's last free weekday of summer! We decided to make the most of it and drive to the beach, not for the beach itself (it was hot as the blazes) but to see the aquarium. Just because. So we did, and it was fun.
It looks like they're looking at a painting but I swear
this is a normal fish tank with real fish inside.

Praying this doesn't result in more turtle nightmares.
This is a megaladon jaw. Did you know a megaladon is a shark? Not a dinosaur?
(I did not know this.) (Three guesses who *did* know this.)
(Yes he is wearing a shirt full of sea creatures to the aquarium.)

Nathan told me these horseshoe crabs are mating. I don't think he knows what
mating means, nor do I know if it's even true, but if it is, then hey! horseshoe crab
sex! on my blog! you're welcome! (Hi there spammers.)

We went to a talk about sharks. There were lots of facts.
Some of us loved the talk about shark facts more than others.

Our outing ended with a big ol' gift store tantrum (from Anneliese! not a store-tantrumer! I do not know what happened! I mean I do, but I was still surprised) and me putting my foot down and dragging her from the complex sobbing (yes I was That Mom), feeling frustrated and hurt that we can't just do something NICE together without some kid wanting MORE instead of just being THANKFUL, but true to Anneliese, she was calm and happy and non-pouty within relatively few minutes, despite having not gotten her way, and all was well for the drive home. There was even iced coffee. (For me. Not Anneliese. In case that wasn't clear.)

Today - I napped, basically all morning, because I have been sleeping terribly all week and I can't seem to turn it around. Normally I am pretty emphatically not a napper -- both because my body rarely even wants it, and when I do it makes me feel worse anyway -- but this past week I took a nap at 8:30 almost every morning when Ali went down. My nights have been anxious and exhausting, and I have just needed more sleep, come morning. Although, I guess if you're taking a nap at 8:30 in the morning, it is less a nap and more... going back to bed. Whatever. I needed it, and lots of My Little Pony was consumed in my living room, and I did it again today, and I am not ashamed.

I also finished another delightful book (lest it sound like I am only reading awesome things these days, please know I abandoned like four books in a row earlier this month because I hated them all).

I have no idea how a book about liberal arts majors playing baseball (there is a lot of baseball in this book) could have sucked me in so fast and kept me rapt for the very few days it took me to read it, but it did. It is full of complicated friendships, and codependency, but the kind that feels good even in its unhealthiness. And one totally inappropriate sexual relationship (legal! just inappropriate, age-wise) so if that kind of thing offends you, don't read it. (I thought it was sexy. For what that's worth.) Anyway, five stars. I even cared about the sports part! RECOMMEND.

Other than that, we just sat around the pool today (the kids are swimming better and better! jumping into the deep end without fear and swimming to the sides, like people who like swimming are wont to do!) then went and ate Mexican for dinner. We joked that we should re-enact this horrible family photo because if anything, we looked even worse than that today.

Also, the big kids decided they are now old enough to sit on their own side of a booth. Like, not next to Mark or me. They were very whispery conspiratorial about it. And then they sat and managed their own food which is actually totally normal and I don't know why we haven't been doing this for a while, but there you go. NEW RESTAURANT BOOTH ERA. (It is possible I make note of too many Eras.)

Tomorrow - Frankly, I am dreading church in the morning. I'm feeling very disillusioned about things over there right now, which has many layers, most of them far more than I would ever say on the internet (when it comes to church leadership, it gets political doesn't it?) but most of it boils down to low energy (our pastor being gone for a month, and Another Nathan being gone - those things make a big difference, we are learning), and all of us slogging through the end of the summer, and my choir (which is normally my favorite thing about church) has just been sort of... down? off? - which makes me miss Nathan very acutely. It's funny how when he was in the process of leaving, people at church kept asking after our family and how we were doing, etc etc, which was nice on some level but also struck me as weird -- knowing that I would miss him at church, of course, but that he's so much more to us than a choir director, sometimes the church part felt like an afterthought in our friendship, like any close friend's job might become just a peripheral thing about them -- that missing him as our friend would surely be so much worse. But NOPE. Turns out he is still very, very present as my friend (he is still in my phone! we talk and text all the time! we know about each other's days! it is very fine and normal actually, or getting there), and very very absent at church.

And anyway so all of those things, plus the looming of a new school year and ending of a hard season, are adding up into some miniature spiritual/existential crisis about whyyyyy I am feet-draggy about church, and basically I have spent a lot of time trying to remind myself 1- I love God, 2- it is okay to miss my friend as my friend and as a faith leader, 3- I do not need to sleep through church tomorrow, right? Right? I just feel super-checked out, and super overthinky about why, and also so freaking tired. (See again: terrible week of sleep = exhaustion = overthinking = self-doubt = existential crisis = hide from the world. But I won't.)

Anyway! So that I don't end on a churchy blah note, here is a cute picture of Charlotte! She climbed in the pews and waited patiently for Mark to clean up and sort things a few weeks ago when he was the deacon in charge, and people kept checking on her and making sure she was okay sitting there alone, but she just wanted to sit her bum in that pew, and smile, and go church, as she says.

So, some things are still churchy lovely as always.

And even if I am dreading tomorrow, and with it, dreading (longing for?) (no, dreading) the end of summer and the start of a new year, I am so glad that we had some easy family fun this weekend. We terribly needed that time together to be out and be summery, and I feel happy about it.

And now I shall go seek out my next hopefully-delightful book, and pray for good sleeping.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Normal Week of Summer. Including Shopping.

Well, here it is. Our first "normal" week of summer. Between camps and work trips and grandparent visits and church trips and road trips and such, every week so far this summer has had something, and this week doesn't, and it has been delightfully uneventful. It is also, incidentally, our last week of summer, and I am trying not to be sad about the fact that it has been so much crazyness that summer kind of happened not the way we wanted it to, but whatever, *brisk clap* this week has been good.

Want some mundane details? (I have been informed life is in the mundane details, and those are sometimes the things most worth remembering, so... say yes.)

Charlotte wore this shirt the other day and proudly proclaimed it her cello shirt! Uhhhh, no, little sister of an orchestra kid, that is a guitar. But nope. She will not be deterred. It is a cello, on her shirt, TELLO ON MAH SHIRT MOMMY. Okkkay then.

Anneliese came home from Lake Wateree with an old toy of Aunt Emily's, a Rainbow Brite sidekick named Puppy Brite, and she luuuuuurves him. This thing's tag says 1983 y'all! She has a like-new toy from 1983! But it is covered in rainbows and comes from her favorite 80s DVD set (yes we have the DVDs) and I will never sway her from this love, because it's adorable, and Rainbow Brite kicks ass. I'm glad she likes her. Also Puppy Brite, who is tackydorable and very Anneliese. I'm glad Emily was apparently never very attached to this thing! (Yet they somehow kept it anyway?)

Charlotte has been working hard on her pottying. Sometimes that means you need a quick break from the pool to poop with your goggles on. Wait is this the stuff we are supposed to, or we're not supposed to put on the internet for fear of embarrassing our kids? I can't remember.

Ali is doing just great, y'all. After a hard June/July, a few weeks away (for me), a new dairy-free diet (for Barbara), she is a sweet easy girl to have around, and I so love our morning snuggles while she drinks her milk and I drink my coffee and she grins at me and we both are secretly thinking thoughts along the lines of sweet nectar from heaven. Sometimes aunt life is just the best.

Daniel Tiger (who is not in our family but might as well be) has a baby sister! Even Nathan, who sometimes says he doesn't love Daniel that  much anymore because it is for babies (let the record show he is still obsessed with Thomas the Train, so....) was super excited for the new baby episode. And I don't have any shame in saying I cried and cried when that baby tiger was born. At a cartoon! For kids! I don't care, I love them. (My children were as riveted by this as they have been about anything on tv in a long time, which is probably why I love it too, and oh I don't care the reasons I just love that Tiger family.)

I did some back to school shopping with Nathan yesterday (I also got a slew of things for the girls last week when we were out of town), and he wanted to eat at K&W, which we did last year in a learning-to-use-a-cafeteria event, and he now apparently thinks is an every-year-school-shopping-day event, and he loved it and thought it was special, so I did too. He ate baked spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and blue jello, and if that's not a lunch of champions I don't know what is.

We also tried on lots of clothes for him, and he talked me into these brownish odd khaki-colored pants (he says they are the color of a train named Diesel 10) (see? Thomas obsessed) and also these lime shorts which he wants to wear for his first day of school. I have no idea what he will wear them with. I wanted him to pick a shirt for the first day of school, but he loves these shorts, so the shorts are what's happening. (I both love and hate shopping with him.) (Mostly love.) (And I do like the shorts! I do! Not that shirt with them though.)

Also yes I bought him a full-caffeine coke icee because back to school shopping makes me super indulgent, apparently.

Also look at his back to school supplies! Who doesn't freaking LOVE back to school supplies??

Anyway it's weird to me that he is starting second grade next week. (Wait, let me say it again so it sinks in properly: SECOND GRADE.) Weird because he is clearly still a tiny baby who was just born, who still sometimes falls asleep in my bed snuggling his tiger that used to live in his crib, and his stuffed Rex that has been his special animal for years.

(And also a sperm whale, naturally.)

How is this tiny baby going to SECOND GRADE??? Stay tuned for more sappiness next week when school actually starts okay? Okay.

Also, apropos of nothing, I still have wavy hair, which seems like I think I need to keep the internet updated about now (vain, what) and a fantastic new scarf full of my most favorite colors, from my most bestest friend, and those are things that make not-fun mornings way better. And also coffee.

And this is what my summer should have been like, all along. But at least there's this week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lake Wateree, Another August

Mark and the kids went to Lake Wateree to see his dad last week for his birthday (and also left Nathan for a long weekend). Ali and I stayed home and sorted bookshelves, which was its own brand of thrilling, and no that is not sarcastic. (We would have loved to have gone, but Ali isn't quiiiite sleeping through the night, and their house isn't quiiiiiite quiet enough for four kids, when one doesn't sleep through the night.) We were fine at home, but it means I have to live vicariously through Mark's pictures.

Nathan and Anneliese are still besties, of course, and this photo makes me melt.

This one too OMG I CAN'T STAND IT MAH BAYBEEEES, this is just so them.

Okay, also, Charlotte apparently went fishing:

And drank a sprite??? Who gave my baby SODA??? *side eye Oma*

Here's a thing I'm glad I didn't know was happening in the moment, because HASHTAG: TERRIFYING.

But Opa has a sweet gentle side too.

And the short version of this post is: my people are pretty cute on boats.

And also happy birthday Opa!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Seven Quick Takes, Post-Date-Night Random Edition

1.) Mark and I went on a date tonight. It was stormy and it is Monday but neither of those things mean it shouldn't be date night, right? He's just a cool person to have dinnertime chatter with. Also, I had a very Erin order, off the menu: a fried green tomato BLT, except instead of the brie, I wanted the pimiento cheese. And instead of the herby mayo or whatever, I wanted the bacon balsamic jam. And instead of on toast, I wanted ciabatta. (All servers love me, I'm sure. But this is the kind of place where that's okay! Also it was delicious.) And Mark loves me anyway, and doesn't even bat an eye, because he is pretty spectacular. Also I had a beer at dinner and am now writing this with a glass of wine in hand. Hi! Random blog post ahead, I feel sure of it!

2.) I finished a delightful book yesterday. I was promised lovely things about AJ Fickry and it took me a while to find it as amazing as everyone else seemed to find it; the beginning was scattered and I couldn't quite stay on top of the timeline, but then it settled and was sweet and easy and full of cute quirky people dealing with real life problems in cute quirky ways, and anyway. Delightful. Recommend.

3.) Anneliese has had an odd rash, like bright red and swollen, and it was causing us some... concern. We called my mom and she said the only thing to watch for was a fever or fast spreading of the red area, and within a day Anneliese had both of those things, so we took her to be seen and yay! cellulitis! (Has nothing to do with cellulite. True story.) Which means an intensive few weeks of antibiotics (gross-tasting ones, for the record - it reduces her to tears every time but she is being a champ), but 90% of cases will respond to an antibiotic so there is no need to worry, yet, so we won't. Yay gross meds.

4.) Speaking of ailments, Bowden got into the trash while I was grocery shopping and I was annoyed in the moment, from cleaning it up, but then when we got home we realized she must have saved an open can from the mess and she had sliced her tongue open and her whole body was covered in blood and we were all, WHAAAAA??? but then after many wet towels, we figured out where the blood was coming from and what must have happened (and then I felt bad for being irritated about the trash mess, because injured pup is way worse! still her own fault though). Blood from her tongue, she licks her foot, blood on her foot, she licks that and drags blood to her chest, then licks that and blood gets on her other foot, etc etc etc BLOOD EVERYWHERE. I just told that story in a convoluted way but whatever. The end result is that she is wearing the cone of shame for a few days, to prevent her from further licking and aggravating her tongue and getting blood all over herself, and by herself I mean the furniture.

5.) We did another craft! That is two crafts mentioned in two blog posts (three for three, if you count the giant 3 cake, AND I DO) and I'm not statistician or sportsman but that's exactly what it means to be batting a thousand, right? Right? Yes. Okay. So. We painted cars. These were little kits from the Target one spot (which is now the Target one OR three spot, have y'all noticed that?) and you paint the pieces and then put them together, and you have racecars. It was cute. They made them into Friend Cars, with faces. I melted a little, because my love for the Friend Cars shall never fade.

6.) Another Nathan, up in tiny town Minnesota, the land of no-Starbucks-except-the-one-in-his-Target (he calls it his Tarbucks and I roll with it, which is a sign of how much I love him because no, that name is not super clever, yeah I said it), is in danger of losing his gold card status {INSERT ALARMED EYES HERE O_o}. So, being clever friends that we are, we devised a plan where I would use a new starbucks card which he had linked to his account, and so any coffees I buy will earn stars towards keeping his gold card status. Smart, right? I mean, I go often enough that my gold status is not in jeopardy (I think I'm good through 2016, y'all don't judge), and I'm glad to help a fella out. EXCEPT. It turns out every time I swipe that card, his phone app lights up with a reciept, so he knew exactly in the moment every time I'm standing in Starbucks. Which is... often. And I knew he would know, since he would see the stars adding up, but DANG I did not know he would know IN THE EXACT MOMENT, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Clearly I can have no shameful secrets anymore. I am sheepish. But on a mission. So.

7.) I came to the bonus room to switch the laundry earlier, and it turns out THIS is a thing that will scare the sh!t out of a person. HI THERE TERRIFYING *GIANT* OLAF EMERGING FROM MY BABY'S BEDROOM STAIRCASE.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Look, I Blogged About Bookshelf Sorting

So here is a blog post about something that should have been boring but totally wasn't (to me), and therefore might not be to tell about? Let's try.

I cleaned off some shelves! I was even crafty in the process! It probably doesn't require that many exclamation points, but I'm not sorry.

I have these old bookshelves in my room that have become a crap magnet, and they got very crammed full of books and old church class notebooks and folders, and piles of schoolwork and art that was too precious to toss (I actually have a discerning eye for that, I promise), and montreat stuff, and sheet music, and a flute, and random memories and lost buttons and extra shoelaces, and things I have been intending to frame, and all our extra Christmas cards and birth announcements from the last decade, and folders full of every portrait session each kid has ever had in their whole lives (YES REALLY, and that includes the every-month-for-the-first-year ones), and cards upon cards upon cards upon cards (I might have a card-buying problem, not that I am admitting that here or anywhere) (I really like them! And again: not sorry). And piled all on top of that were things that needed to be returned or exchanged or didn't fit in the shelves, and anyway it was driving Mark nuts, and me too, so I promised him on my summer list would be tackling its reorganization.

And I did! And it was kind of awesome! Bins and boxes! Reorganizing is fun! (This is a truth I learned from the Berenstain Bears and you all know I'm right.) (More exclamation points.)

So. Before and after pics:

Much better now, yes?

Those bins mostly hold cards. From the top left shelf, in reading order: extra envelopes, sets of boxed cards, stamps/stickers/seals/etc, monogrammed stationery, mini cards, thank you cards, cards from people who love me (in the colorful box), then random occasion cards, birthday cards, holiday greeting cards, and the bottom bins are for kiddie school and art keepsakes -- one per kid, plus an extra for my own random memories. I KNOW it's too many cards, but I love writing and sending them, and I like to have many on hand, and even though it's a little Monica/Friends/everyday/guest/fancy/fancy guest with the towels, I WILL SAY AGAIN NOT SORRY.


Would you like to know some of the random things I found while I was doing this? (This is what great blogging is made of right here, folks.)

My very first drivers license:

Many love notes from Marky, including a crap ton marked "par avion" from when he wrote to me in Europe (weren't we quaint and adorable? say yes).

Two binders full of letters and cards I wrote to him from Germany, which he saved and put together in what turns out to be the best memories of that semester abroad, because he is delightful like that.

This xeroxed song Another Nathan stopped me from recycling after a choir event years and years ago, because it is one of his most favorites and he wanted me to keep it, which I did, and now it makes me teary because just... read that text. Okay then.

A page I apparently made Mark write and sign one day when he said he didn't want to make out, which I'm sure was unheard of because hello, he was 19, and I knew I would want future proof that it happened:

Many many travel books. This is the previously-culled-down stack I moved into this house, and I culled it even further, because they are old and of no use to anyone any more, but some of them are too full of my memories and scribbles to throw away. Mark and I have seen many things together, these books in our backpacks, and some of them are too dear to ever part with, useless or no.

And in other bookshelf-related news, I did a craft, because I wanted a place for my special pens that is mine all mine (those with the colored caps are my beloved Stabilo pens that I always bought in Germany because I didn't know you could get them in the states, until I found them a few weeks ago in a tiny writing shop in Northfield Minnesota, OF ALL PLACES, and anyway they are special), and look! it is pretty  now!

Spraypainting the rings of mason jars and putting your own pens in there to keep them separate from writing utensils to be used by tiny humans: RECOMMEND.