Sunday, December 31, 2017

Out With the Old, In With the New

When we decided to stay in town for Christmas I had all sorts of grand plans. As soon as school was out for break I started planning what I would bake, what Christmas movies we would watch, how we would spend cozy mornings in with coffee before going to church and opening presents. Visions of sugar plums danced in my head, and all that. 

I did get a lot of baking done. As soon as school was over on Thursday I had molasses cookies and spritz cookies whipped up and ready to go. I found my grandma's old cookie press and after getting the hang of it vowed to use it instead of making cutout cookies henceforth and forevermore. Cutout cookies and decorating are fun for about two and a half seconds. Spritz cookies still have the same sugary deliciousness and some fun shapes without all of the rolling and cutting and pain-in-the-assery. 

We have been enjoying sub-zero temperatures which has been fun for our old plumbing and we've been dealing with frozen pipes in our downstairs bathroom. Also over the course of the week we've all been sick. 

Last Saturday we were supposed to go to Justin's parents' house for their Christmas with his mom's side but I woke up feeling like death--my sinuses were so full that my head felt like it weighed a thousand pounds--so I had to stay home. They had a great time exchanging gifts and eating all of the good foods (including the cookies I baked) while I cried into my tissue box. They were super nice and saved Jackson's gifts for Christmas day when we got together again so I didn't miss him opening them. 

I was feeling 84.3% better by the time Christmas was over so we went out and bought the gift I have been waiting for--A NEW DISHWASHER. We also painted the dining room. At night. After Jackson had gone to bed.

Justin and Jackson both cycled through snotty noses and coughs so while we are all recovering I have been viciously cleaning every surface of my house hoping to kill the germs.

It shouldn't surprise you that we didn't have big party plans for New Year's Eve, but we were planning a low-key night at our house with a few people that we ended up cancelling. When I woke up for church this morning Justin was already up. And puking. I had to play organ for both services but thankfully Jackson slept a good chunk of the time I was gone so that Justin could rest. Now both of my boys are in bed and I'm debating whether or not I will stay up to ring in the new year by myself. 

Despite a few hiccups (and throw ups) the holiday season and the whole past year have been pretty good to us, bringing blessings beyond measure. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

You Knew I Had to Do This

1. Real tree or fake tree?
Justin and I have always had fake, my family has always had fake. Every year that goes by the thought of a real tree is less and less appealing to me. 

2. Favorite Christmas cookie?
There is nothing Christmas-y about them, really, but peanut butter blossoms. My grandma always made them at Christmas time so I have associated them with Christmas. I have made them every year since she died. 

3. Home on Christmas morning or travel?
For the last 27 years we have celebrated with my dad's side of the family on Christmas morning, and it would either be at my parents' house or my grandparents' house. This year Justin, Jackson and I are staying home and I'm really looking forward to it--sleeping in a little bit, going to church together, and opening a few gifts with Jackson. We will probably end up with Justin's family later in the day but I'm excited about the idea of a slow, relaxing morning. 

I guess my answer is I like both?

4. Clear or colored lights?
I like colored lights outside. We have clear on our tree, but I guess I could go either way. 

5. Send Christmas cards?
We are sending them this year for the first time. 

6. Favorite Christmas present received?
Hard to choose, but a couple of years ago Justin got us tickets to see I Love Lucy Live on Stage and it was amazing. One of my favorites for sure. 

7. Favorite Christmas present given?
A few years ago I got Justin the Calvin and Hobbes book box set. That was pretty cool. 

8. Stockings or no stockings?

9. Christmas PJs?
In my dream world, I would sew the three of us matching PJ pants to wear on Christmas. Maybe one day. 

10. Favorite Christmas carol?
I like O Come, Emmanuel...also O Holy Night. And All Is Well. 

11. Favorite holiday tradition?
For pretty much my entire life, my mom's side of the family would go to church together on Christmas Eve, then we would to go someone's house for dinner, and when the night was over we would go back to my parents' house and we would exchange gifts while A Christmas Story was on in the background. 

12. Early shopper or last minute?
So last minute. I always try to be earlier, but it never fails that we are sitting around at the beginning of December saying "What are we getting our parents?"

13. Favorite Christmas movie or t.v. show?
So so so many. A Christmas Story. Elf. Every Christmas party episode of The Office except the whole Jim/Dwight snowball fight because that's dumb

14. Favorite holiday beverage?
I don't really have one. I made mulled wine one year...that was pretty good. 

15. Cookies and milk for Santa?
We haven't decided if/how we're going to do the Santa thing with Jackson. Thankfully he won't care or remember that Santa wasn't involved this Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Stranger Called Sleep

Please talk to me about sleep.

When Jackson was born, he would not wake up to eat and was not gaining weight. Everyone on our medical team said that I should set alarms to wake him up at night to eat, otherwise he would sleep right through. Shortly after we started with formula we got the go-ahead to let him sleep--and sleep, he did. He had one bottle in the middle of the night for a few months and quickly went to sleeping through the night.

I'm sharing this so that I can remember the days when I had a baby who slept. For the last ten days or so, restful nights have been very rare.

Jackson has had a cold on and off. He also popped three teeth out of the blue. So that's what I blamed for his lack of sleep. I gave him Tylenol. I carry the humidifier from room to room with us throughout the day, and forced myself to use the dreaded snot-sucker. But he will not sleep.

I've held him, rocked him, and walked with him which usually gets him to fall back asleep. Until the second I put him down, when he immediately wakes up and cries. I've tried patting his back, sitting on the floor next to his crib, and singing to him. I've played music, turned on white noise, made the room completely silent, changed the temperature, changed the light, changed his diaper, and fed him. The first few bad nights he would settle down after a bottle. So I tried giving him a bigger bottle at bedtime. Nope. Then I thought maybe he just needed night feedings again. Then that didn't work either.

Until this point I was determined that I was not going to let him "cry it out", just because that personally is not my style, but last night I just had to leave the room. Eight minutes later he had not calmed down at all and I couldn't take it. Justin went in and held him for a while and finally he was asleep enough to be put down in his crib. Then between the exhaustion, a cold from hell, and feeling like the worst mom for not being able to get my son to sleep (Is he sick? Is something wrong? Ear infection? Teething? Sleep regression? Separation anxiety? Have I started bad habits with sleep associations? Is he hungry? Hot? Cold? Growth spurt?)...I lost it. Poor Justin just held his crying infant baby to sleep and now he has a giant grownup wife-baby sitting in his bed teary and snotty. We had both finally passed out around 3:00 and Jackson was up at 5:00.

Today like a paranoid first time mom, I called the pediatrician to beg for answers and hopefully rule out sickness. Of course our doctor wasn't in today but after giving a lengthy message to the receptionist (who kept referring to Jackson as "she" and "her") to pass on to the nurse and I was able to set up an appointment for tomorrow.

I'm sorry there is no structure to this post and it is rambly and maybe doesn't make sense but if you have any sleep advice...please share.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Watching: I caved. I'm not proud. I started watching Stranger Things.  Justin started watching it a while ago and telling me I'd like it but it just wasn't the type of show I usually gravitate towards. But I started watching it and now I'm ahead of Justin and he wants me to wait to start season two until he catches up so we can watch it together. Ugh. Anyway, I love it. 

Consequently I believe that my washing machine is the gate and two of my bras are lost in the upside down. That's the only explanation. Not that I am so far behind on laundry that I don't know where anything is. 

Making: A sock and a shawl. I finished a project too! I made this car seat poncho for Jackson. Let me tell you. I walked around Joann's for a long time trying to decide on two fabrics. I had it narrowed between this combo, and a gray arrow pattern with a solid teal on the reverse side. I went with the arrows/teal. Then I messed it up so irreparably that I was convinced the deer and plaid combo was the one we needed so I went back to get it immediately and whipped this guy up. It's not as long as I'd like it to be, but it works and if he grows out of it, it's just another excuse to pick out more fabric. I also saw this avocado fabric and it's a daily struggle not to go back and buy enough to make a blanket for myself. 

I had a crazy notion to knit mini stocking ornaments for each of my students. I have this vision of giving them each a stocking with a candy cane and an ornament with the first letter of their name. We'll see if anything comes of that. 

Loving: My husband. Duh, I always love my husband but I have to gush a little bit. You guys. The musical is over and I am very happy. The days and weeks leading up to it are so stressful; we hardly see each other, and even when he's home he's working on it. It can be frustrating and difficult being on my own so much (and I know this is nothing compared to what some couples go through!!!) but seeing the finished product just makes me feel so proud. Knowing all of the work, time, effort, and love that went into putting the show together makes it even more wonderful. Every year I say "I think this show has been my favorite", but this year I really meant it. It was fantastic. My husband and everyone who was involved in this production are so incredibly talented, dedicated, and hard-working. That's all I wanted to say about that. And no, he doesn't read this, so I'm not just trying to butter him up. If you haven't seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, you should. It's weird, and funny, and fantastic. The Donny Osmond movie version is all on Youtube, if you don't mind Polish subtitles in your movies. 

Drinking: Coffee with flavored creamer--this is new. If I drink coffee at all in the mornings, I usually drink it black. But I found some chocolate toffee creamer at the store that I really wanted to try and it's delicious. 

Also, hot lemonade. Whenever someone was sick, my grandma would always fill the kettle with hot water and mix it with lemonade mix. Obviously it's not as healthy as hot water with an actual lemon, but it's good and it's comforting and it's my go-to when I start getting sick. 

Eating: Pumpkin spice Kit-Kats. I found them in the leftover Halloween candy stash at the grocery store for $0.99. Definitely not something I would eat on a regular basis, or probably even buy again, but not terrible. 

Listening to: Jackson tell me that nap time is over. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Pumpkin Chucking

A voicemail from the police department on your cell phone is no way to wake up on a Friday.

But that's what happened to me today. I checked my phone like I always do when I wake up, and saw that I had a voicemail from a number I didn't know. It was a police officer who had called me at 2:15 a.m., just saying that I should call the station.

I called back, but it was pretty hard to hear anything over the sound of my pounding heart. Was someone hurt? Am I in trouble? WHY ARE THE POLICE CALLING ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?!

I gave the person who answered the phone the name of the officer who left the message. He put me on hold and then connected me to an officer--this was not the person who left the message so I had to repeat everything I had just said and was put on hold again. He came back and said "Um, ok. Yeah. Is this in regards to a damaged vehicle?"

I DON'T KNOW?! IS IT??? I said "I'm not sure. I'm just returning a message". On hold again. He asked my address and if I had a car parked on the street.

A little background--we live in the city and have a single-width driveway with no garage, so one of our cars (usually Justin's) is almost always on the street. The car has been sideswiped twice in the last year and I assumed that's what had happened.

He said that they had been taking note of damaged vehicles and apparently mine was one, and did I want to file a report? I asked if I could take a look at it and call back. He said "Ma'am, your back window is completely smashed. I'm sorry, I don't mean to drag you out of bed but I can come write a report or I will be sent on another call".

I literally just stood in my bedroom looking around for at least a minute--my brain was not ready to comprehend finding pants that were appropriate to go down and talk to the police, so Justin came down to do the talking. By the time we got downstairs the police car was pulling up and I peeked out the window in my blue flannel pajama pants.

Until this point my foggy 5:30 a.m. brain was trying to figure out how someone could hit the car and damage the back window. The second I looked outside and saw the car it was very clear that it was not an accident.

To sum up, there is a window-shaped hole in the back of the car where glass used to be. Nothing was stolen, and there are bits of glass and pumpkin sprinkled throughout the back seat of the car. Yeah. Pumpkin. We found out a little bit later that there were two calls that came in about someone throwing pumpkins through car windows in the middle of the night.

They gave us a sheet of paper titled "Information for Victims of Crime" and this gem popped into my head, because when your life is insanity, you just have to find a Michael Scott quote to laugh at.
from here

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday: A Poopstorm

You are all familiar with blowouts. I will spare you the details of the actual event and tell you that it ended with me on my hands and knees scrubbing my living room floor with disinfectant wipes.

What else is new? 

I recently discovered that there were new episodes of Call the Midwife up on Netflix. I devoured them and a show called Land Girls was recommended to me after that so that's what I'm watching now. It's obviously no Call the Midwife, but it fills the dramatic British soap-opera type void that has been created. 

We had school pictures last week. Picture day gives me so much stress. Thankfully the company we worked with was able to come right away in the morning because obviously as soon as pictures are over someone inevitably rips out their hair bow, spills something on their clothes, or messes up their hair. I was also very thankful that this year none of my kids came in *super* dressy clothes. Everyone looked so sweet, but no one was in clothes that could be ruined during playing or regular little kid activities. High five, moms. 

Jackson and I went to knit night tonight. It had been weeks since I was able to go and it will be a few more weeks before Justin's and my schedules work out again and I thought I would chance taking him along. Jackson was. an. angel. As you might have assumed, this particular knitting group is all ladies and my little ham ate it up. He was smiling at everyone and joined in the conversation every chance he could. I walked him around the store a few times because I needed a break from sitting so I assumed he did too, but otherwise he was content to sit in his car seat and play with his toys the entire time. It almost made up for the whole poop incident. Almost. 

Now I'm off to eat popcorn for dinner at 8:30 because I'm an adult.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jumping on the Bandwagon

It's Friday, I have nothing exciting to talk about, and honestly this week kind of kicked my butt so I'm thankful to have found this floating around (thanks Angi and Kristen!)

1. Favorite fall sweet treat? 
Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

2. Red, yellow, or green apples? 
Red. Honeycrisp, to be exact. 

3. Favorite fall sport to play? 

4. Best drink for fall? 
Salted Caramel Mocha > Pumpkin Spice Latte.

5. Favorite fall activity? 
All of the cliche fall things; baking, burning candles, and taking walks to look at the leaves.

6. Must-have fall purchase? 
I don't really have a specific fall purchase. If I had to pick something that I purchase more in the fall I guess it would be candles. 

7. Pumpkins: pick your own or store-bought? 
This year we got some wonderful pumpkins from our babysitter's farm and it's the first time we have had pumpkins in years. We went to a pumpkin farm the first year we were married and until now haven't bought any pumpkins since. 

8. Real or fake pumpkin? 

9. Favorite Halloween costume? 
I don't dress up. I don't do costume parties in my classroom and we don't go to any costume functions. When I was teaching in Florida I dressed up as Pippy Longstocking...that was kind of fun. 

10. College or NFL football? 
NFL. Being a Lions fan (stop laughing) in Packer territory during football season is rough. 

11. Fall or Halloween decor? 
I don't have a ton of seasonal decor ever, but if I had to choose I would say fall. Halloween just isn't my jam. 

12. Raking leaves or no leaves to rake? 
Raking. We don't have a ton of leaves so it's not that big a job here. 

13. Favorite soup? 

14. Favorite fall candle scent? 
I like all of the pumpkin-y/baked goods scents, but my favorite for the last several years has been one from Bath & Body Works called Mahogany Teakwood.

15. Love or hate pumpkin spice? 
Like. Not love, but definitely not hate. 

16. Short booties or tall boots? 
I usually go for tall. 

17. Favorite Halloween candy? 
Reese's pumpkins. 

18. Pumpkin Spice Latte, YES or NO? 

19. Corn maze or hayride? 

20. Favorite fall TV show? 
I'm really excited that the last season of Scandal has started, but I'll have to wait until it goes to Netflix, so I'm not sure if that counts as a fall show. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Yesterday I set out with Jackson to make a quick trip to the bank. 

To start, I turned the car on and the thermometer said 104 degrees.  

A mile down the road there was a police car blocking the road where I needed to turn. I decided I would just go up a block and circle around. The next block was closed with construction, so I went up one more. Also closed. Between construction and dead ends, I ended up going up SEVEN blocks before I was able to try to turn left. But everyone and their brother happened to be driving down that road so I got impatient and decided it would be better to just turn right and turn around. 

I finally got going in the right direction and was immediately stopped by a train. I waited for eight minutes--yes, I checked--and then the train just stopped on the track. By this point cars had started to go around and I followed suit. 

In order to get around the train to where I needed to go, I ended up having to back track so far I was almost back home, which should have been a sign to just give up because this three mile trip has now taken me forty-five minutes. 

When I finally arrived at the bank I opted for the drive through because it was a billion and a half degrees and I didn't want to get out of the car. Jackson decided he was done being in the car seat and started losing his mind in the back seat. I was halfway in the backseat trying to console my child and talk to the lady at the same time. 

"Hi, yep, fine thanks. It's okay, buddy. Yes, the weather is crazy. Jackson we're almost done. Where is your pacifier? Just a deposit. Shhh..I know baby...we'll leave soon. Yes, that's all. Thanks, you have a good day too. NO I DON'T NEED ANY SUCKERS--READ THE ROOM LADY"

Okay, so I didn't actually yell at the lady, but I thought it was pretty clear that I did not want to stay and have a conversation (hello, screaming child). 

I don't know why I thought stopping at the grocery store was a good idea. It's right next to the bank so what else could possibly go wrong, right? Remember how everyone and their brother was on the same road preventing me from turning left? Well, during my excursion across town around the train they all decided to meet at the grocery store. 

Jackson had calmed down at this point and was great while I grabbed the three things we needed from the store. Until the checkout lady started talking to him. I chose the self-checkout to avoid interactions and because the lines were a thousand miles long, but while I was trying to convince the checkout machine that I DID put the sweet potato in the bag, the woman in charge of the self-checkout came and stuck her face in the cart and started talking to him. He scrunched up his face and started whimpering. 

"Oh boy" the lady said. "Looks like it's time for a nap". You have no idea, lady. You. Have. No. Idea. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Currently: The Beginning of Fall

Or is it? It's been in the upper 80's here all week and I'm over it. 

Eating: I made pumpkin muffins in spite of the freaking return of summer because I'm just ready. Also because homemade treats make early morning faculty meetings a little bit more exciting. Then I made this One Pan Mexican Quinoa dish. I made a few modifications because no jalapenos for me, and I added some chicken. But it was pretty tasty and any meal that can be cooked entirely in one pan is alright by me. 

Drinking: Cranberry Lime seltzer water. By the case. 

Watching: Friends. We are guilty of cycling through the same shows over and over--usually The Office, Parks and Rec, and How I Met Your Mother. Friends isn't really new but it's something different. 

Listening to: One of my goals this year was not to have the tv on so much when I'm home in the afternoon, so I've been listening to podcasts. I found one called Ask Me Another which is an NPR podcast trivia game show. I live for lame trivia and game shows, so it's pretty awesome. 

I've also been listening to My Favorite Murder but I had to take a hiatus because it freaked me out so much that I was afraid to be in my house alone. Maybe I'll be able to go back to it, but not for a while. 

Participating in: Two knit-alongs. I'm hoping the possibility of prizes will get my needles moving enough to meet a deadline and actually finish some projects. 

Wondering: Are my social media buttons messed up? When I look at my blog page it looks like something is wrong with them, but I can't click on them. Anybody know what I should do? 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The First Two Weeks and The First Sick Day

We are home on our first sick day. It's strange not being at school, and not being the one sick. My poor guy had started with a bit of a rash last night that has spread overnight. I suspect that it is Hand, Foot, and Mouth but we can't get in to the doctor until this afternoon to say for sure.

School started! Actually, I started school two weeks ago but by the time I have been able to sit down the last few weeks blogging just hasn't been on the top of my list.

So far this year I have only cleaned up one potty accident and have had no tears...except from a mom on the first day but that doesn't count because LEAVING YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME IS HARD.

Yes, I cried when I dropped Jackson off at the babysitter on the first day. But the babysitter is less than five miles away from school so there wasn't much time to dwell in sadness before eight excited 3 and 4 year-olds were clamoring for my attention. The babysitter is wonderful and sends me pictures during the day to help mend my broken heart.

Preschool is fun. They laugh at everything and acting silly is a part of our daily routine. Also, dancing with them at music time and racing up and down the sidewalk totally counts as exercise, so there's that.

One morning this week a mom came in and informed me that her daughter had been trying to smuggle kittens to school in her backpack that morning, and now that is my favorite thing.

I still can't understand how, but Jackson is six months old today. Fortunately I cheated and took some photos yesterday, because today he is covered in spots. We are also spending the day in pj's while I vigorously wash everything.

That's all for now. It's time for a healthy dose of Gilmore Girls. Doctors orders.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee

If we were having coffee...
We would probably sit around the dining room table because that's where the best breeze is. As I poured I would tell you about how I bought this mug in London when Justin and I went there on a school trip in college, how devastated I was when I dropped and broke it shortly after, and how Justin bought me a new one--exactly the same--seven years later when he went back to England. There would be a drool and banana covered little boy sitting in his high chair mushing a stick-shaped piece of banana in his chubby fist and making high pitched squealing/screaming noises because he has just figured out how. Jethro will cautiously creep into the room and start rubbing his face on your legs and when Jackson sees him he will start kicking and giggling.

I would tell you how nice it was that we were able to go to church Saturday night and have Sunday morning free. Our church has four services--Thursday, Saturday, and two on Sunday morning-- and it's kind of nice to switch it up. Since I'm usually singing, ringing, or playing at least one service it was also nice to go as a family and be able to sit together.

I'd tell you that I listened to all seven episodes of a podcast called S-Town in a day last week and ask if you've heard of it. I would say that it left me with a lot of questions and feeling really sad.

Jackson would start to get fussy so I'd pick him up and tell you that it's just about his nap time. As I cleaned him up I would tell you that getting him to sleep has been such an ordeal lately and how when I take him upstairs he decides that it's his time to start practicing gymnastics. I'd lament over how he won't let me rock or cradle him anymore and that I'm not crazy about letting him "cry it out" so I'm just not sure what to do.

Jackson's nap would be far too short and the pot of coffee would run out. I would thank you for coming, wish you a good week, and hope that you will come again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stream of Consciousness

I bought a new water bottle yesterday. Not because I needed one, but because it was on sale at Target and I wanted one with a flip top but no straw. Some people buy a lot of shoes, or purses, or whatever...I buy water bottles.

Why are water bottles top rack-dishwasher safe but never fit on the top shelf of the dishwasher? I have not yet found a decent water bottle that fits in the dishwasher. 

Target's dollar spot is a bummer this year. I've gotten a lot of good stuff for my classroom there the past few years but found nothing this year. The end of summer is sad, but I always love rearranging and redecorating my classroom, and it's even more exciting when I can get cute stuff for $1. I do have an order from Oriental Trading coming that's pretty exciting, though. 

I really need to downsize my wardrobe. I've been reading a lot of things about having a minimalist wardrobe and how we can get caught in these cycles of indecision leading to buying more stuff which leads to more indecision. If I only have basic things in my closet that are all able to mix and match there will be no more struggling to figure out what to wear and whether or not it goes together. Also our families seem to have 873 new outfits for Jackson every time we see them, so I may just need to surrender my dresser to baby clothes.

Jackson and Jethro are suddenly very interested in each other. Jackson is starting to grab everything in arm's reach and gets really excited whenever Jethro comes near him. Jethro, however, has learned to keep a safe distance.

There is a lot going on in our neighborhood right now. The people in the house behind us are getting a new roof. There is one guy working on it and he is out there all. the. time. Two houses down there is a new driveway being put in and there have been a ton of huge trucks taking up our street and super close to our driveway for days. Our neighbor across the street does woodworking in his garage. I don't know what he's working on right now, but it's freaking noisy. And finally someone, somewhere near by has been lighting off one, single, booming, loud firework each night for the past three nights.

Me: "I really should start eating healthier. We haven't been eating very well the last few weeks"
Also me: "I wonder if we have all of the ingredients to make cookies..."

Tonight is our school's "Back to School" orientation night, which pretty much signals the end of summer, even though I have a little over a week before school starts officially. Jackson and I might spend one of our last mornings of freedom taking a long walk. To the yarn store. And the coffee shop. If it's not too hot.