7
at least there will be ice cream?

In less than 12 hours, I’ll be headed to a surgery center with Rachel to get her tonsils taken out. It’s kind of a long story that started with some inquiries on development and frustrations that led us to occupational therapy. What I didn’t talk about in that post was that upon examination, our pediatrician noticed that Rachel’s tonsils were enlarged.

All of the frustrations we were having were also all things that could be caused by fatigue from interrupted sleep.

I could go into a lot of boring detail, but I’ll save you most of it. We learned about the enlarged tonsils back in July, but I didn’t act on it until we started to notice it affecting her schoolwork. Worksheets (mostly math) were coming back completed, but it was clear she was just filling in answers so that she could a) appear to be working, even if she didn’t understand the assignment, b) not draw attention to herself by asking questions about the assignment and being embarrassed to ask for help, and c) finish quickly so she could turn the page over and draw Sonic the Hedgehog story lines.

LEGO time = focus time

LEGO time = focus time

The short version is that many signs, both at school and at home, pointed to possible ADD/ADHD, but we needed to get her tonsils checked out first. That led us to a sleep study, which was completely terrible, mainly for me, the mom who had to sleep on a makeshift bed that killed my hips. AND I forgot my allergy meds in the middle of full blown Cedar Fever season here in Austin, so I sniffled and snorted through the entire night, so I fully expected them to come back and say, “She slept fine, but we’d like to test YOU.” Meanwhile, Rachel woke up approximately 874 times to ask if it was time to get up yet.

Who the hell could sleep with all that? Such a trooper.

Who the hell could sleep with all that? Such a trooper.

Results: She had an average of 4.5 “episodes” per hour, where they don’t really want to see more than one. One of those episodes lasted for over 20 seconds. 20 seconds where she was struggling to breathe. Diagnosis: sleep apnea, although apparently 4.5 episodes per hour is still considered mild.

Tonsils and adenoids, yer outta here.

She’s surprisingly not too nervous. Rachel struggles with a bit of anxiety, but her anxiety seems to revolve around things that either aren’t real (mutant squirrels), or things that I cannot do a thing about (it’s 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon and she has to go to school the next day). These are the things for which I have a hard time easing her fears. School is school, and as long as there’s no deeper reason for not wanting to go (there isn’t; she just claims to get bored), we go. Mutant squirrels? Stumped. “They’re not real” isn’t a good enough argument for her. But when her sister made a sign on the front door forbidding entry of all “BAD SKWIRLS,” all fears faded.

I’m not creative enough for this, y’all.

So anyway, by the time anyone reads this, she’ll probably be in surgery, or out of surgery, or back home, or maybe back at school because we’re all behind on our blog reading. She’s not nervous. I am nervous, because my poll on what to expect came back that either she’ll recover like NBD, or she’ll be laid up and miserable for an entire 2 weeks. Friday is also Kids’ Night Out at the school, and Christian and I were looking forward to a much needed date night. But you know. Priorities and such.

She IS super excited about missing at least a week of school and her upcoming popsicle/ice cream/smoothie/ALL THE LIQUID THINGS diet. So there’s that.

I’m looking forward to some unadulterated Rachel time. So there’s that too. [insert smiley emoji here]

Single blue eye-shadowed eye, optional.

Single blue eye-shadowed eye, optional.

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6
the mall is for suckers

Years ago I read a few twin-centered parenting books. My girls were all of about one year old, and we all know that in hindsight, reading a parenting book when your children are not even considered toddlers yet is pretty much a waste of time. But back then I thought I was getting a head start on things. And one of the main things I took from these books was the importance of spending individual time with your twins.

Ask me how many times since then I’ve taken the girls on individual outings. Not including errands. It’s embarrassing.

Zoe had that kind of quality time with me from 18 months old. When Rachel and Claire were in preschool twice a week, Zoe and I were together. ZOE AND I WERE ALWAYS TOGETHER.

When Rachel and Claire went to elementary school and Zoe started preschool, she still had two days a week with just me. I miss those days with my girl terribly, although most of them ended with me saying, “Wow, is it time to pick up your sisters yet? Because this child needs someone else to talk to that is not me.”

Anyway. I decided recently to make the effort to take each of the girls on a special outing, just me and her.

IMG_5986

My visions for these outings were idealistic at the very least. We would go to a local coffee shop or bookstore, grab a treat from the pastry case and a coffee for me. We’d find a small cafe table near the warm sunlight streaming through the windows, just enough room for her to draw quietly in her journal and for me to read my book. We’d stop every few minutes to chat about her pictures or school or whatever.

“Mom, I want to go to the mall.”

If you know me at all, you can probably guess that I hate the mall. It’s not sunny. It’s loud. There’s terrible music playing at just about every turn. It’s filled with strange people who are just there to…shop. For someone who pretty much only goes out when I need something, I find that very strange.

She wanted to go because there was a Sanrio store, filled to the brim with Hello Kitty and friends.

The Hello Kitty store was no more.

Not only that, but in this trip to the mall, I learned that The GAP had closed, the once gigantic Express store moved into a suite less than half its prior size and apparently now stocked nightclub wear (I used to buy my work clothes there!), and of course Victoria’s Secret and it’s boobs still reigned supreme in the upstairs, near the food court. Oh, and Abercrombie & Fitch still smells like teen desperation.

There WAS a Pokemon store (with everything behind glass cases, THANK GOD. Going to the mall with sensory seeking kids is a special experience indeed). There was a cool hippie store with lots of jewelry for her to paw through, Chinese stress balls for her to ooh and ahh over, and bonus hookahs for her to pick up and shout “I want THIS!” There was a giant pretzel from the pretzel shop.

And of course no trip to the mall is complete without a stop at Claire’s. Especially when you are with Claire.

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Claire is turning out to be my girly girl. She’s discovering her style, although she still needs a little guidance on what combinations won’t assault other people’s eyeballs. She loves makeup and nail polish and admires herself in the mirror. I would say that looking nice is important to her, and she tests the boundaries of what goes with what. But I think the main thing she cares about is “Do I feel good in this?”

She picked out a sparkly teddy bear necklace and a small compact of glittery eyeshadow, because although the intention of this outing wasn’t to go buy her something, it’s not like you can take you kid to the mall and go home empty-handed. Children do not exactly understand window shopping, and I figured the $10 I spent on those things would have been spent on coffee and treats at a coffee shop.

At the end of the day, or the END OF DAYS because it was the mall, I was just glad to spend that time with her. As admirable as our intentions are, it’s not something we get to do often, even though we know it’s so important.

“I love spending time with you, Mommy,” she said, hugging my arm tight as we walked through the parking lot. “But I miss my sisters.”

Seems we’ve fostered quite a bond among those three. And I’m grateful for that. Christian and I won’t be around forever, and it’s important that they have each other. Even if right now it seems like they can’t seem to get away from each other. And even if I have to go to the mall.

IMG_5989

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6
self care and what I’m watching

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I talk about what I’m streaming online. What should I watch next?

How was your January? Mine went well, thanks for asking. I’ve been able to mentally prioritize things a bit, which basically means doing my best to balance work and household stuff, and not feeling one bit guilty if I have to take a power nap before picking the girls up from school, and also not stress-eating all of the Nutella. It sounds simple and very “duh,” but it’s taken quite a bit of mental shuffling to get me here.

What I’ve learned about myself these past several months is that I am not one of those women who can go! go! go! all the time and still stay standing and sane. I mean, I already knew that about myself as a mother (more than one outing a day with the kids exhausts me, mentally and physically), but now I also know that about myself as a woman in general. So it just means I have to work harder to prioritize my tasks so I can make sure to work in a little me time – reading, writing, and of course, sleeping. All in the name of self care.

I read a blog post the other day about an amazing Star Wars themed birthday party, and while I was all, “Whoa, that is COOL,” I was also all, “Whoa, that is a NO.” My kids are lucky if I remember to plan their birthday party far enough in advance to actually book a venue and send invitations. One year I procrastinated so much, Zoe had her February birthday party in March, and the twins their March birthday party in April. I mean, part of me wants to be the mom who throws that kind of rad shindig, but the real me knows that I will half-ass it because I just can’t care that much about it. It’s not who I am. I am not a party planner. I WILL make the cakes (I make awesome cakes) and throw some Pirate Booty on the table, but any more than that is asking too much of myself. IT IS WHAT IT IS.

The best part of any party is when it’s over. Spoken like a true introvert.

 

So what am I watching these days?

fixer upper HGTV Netflix

YOU GUYS. I have drank the Kool-Aid.

I first caught Fixer Upper at our hotel in Dallas over Thanksgiving (I am thankful for cousin sleepovers and child-free hotel cable). And since I’ve started watching season one on Netflix, I am convinced of one thing:

Chip and Joanna Gaines can do no wrong.

He’s bumbly and funny, she’s gorgeous and relatable, and together they are just plain adorable. I don’t even hate her for being able to look fabulous in a plain gray tshirt and jeans, raise 87 children, keep chickens, design a boss house, and maintain a garden. She is the girl crush of the moment for all of us.

But there is this:


Maybe I just haven’t spent enough time in Waco. Maybe….I’ll stick to Austin. (Still love you, Gaineses!)

Black-Mirror- netflix

Black Mirror caught my eye because Jon Hamm was on the image preview. There. I said it.

Black Mirror is a British series that uses speculative fiction to examine themes such as technology and modern society. None of the themes in the show have happened, but it’s not hard to see how they could someday be a possibility. For example, a woman signs up for a service in which she can receive emails from her deceased husband, using technology that mimics his personality via his presence on social media. The show is definitely interesting and a little creepy, but not nightmare creepy, because I don’t mess with that American Horror Story crap.

Galaxy-Quest netflix

In honor of the late, great Alan Rickman, I’m adding one of my favorite movies that I don’t watch nearly enough. Galaxy Quest is kitschy and fun and has so many great quotes. Tim Allen and crew are a bunch of washed up actors who once starred in a hit space television show in the 70s. An actual alien race contacts them asking for help, thinking they are honest-to-goodness space adventurers. It’s fantastic.

I can’t tell you how many times my old co-worker Michael and I would walk by each other and say, “We nnnnnneeeeeeeed your help!” If you haven’t seen it, you won’t get it. So watch it.

 

Christian also watched and enjoyed Marco Polo. We usually enjoy watching historical fiction together, but didn’t get into it. And of course, I watched Making a Murderer like the rest of the world. I still have no idea if Steven Avery is guilty, but I do carry strange affections for Dean Strang and the Silver Fox reporter.

 

What are you watching?

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9
we have a new [robot] baby – bObi pet

Hey! This post is sponsored by bObsweep, who graciously sent me one of their robotic vacuums to try out. I promise you, it’s fun.

Well I didn’t mean to write about unclenching myself and then take a two and a half week long hiatus from my blog, but that’s exactly what happened. But the good news is I am feeling much less clenchy, thanks to some mental prioritization and some great lunches with great friends who let me vomit all of my troubles onto them so they can say wise things to me like, “Girl, you need to chill.”

They didn’t say that. But they did say some really wise and nice things that actually helped me chill.

Anyway.

You may remember that last November we went floor shopping, and then decided to get those floors installed like 10 days before Christmas, meaning before that we decided to paint the entire house. It was not stressful at all, having to move every bit of furniture from the living room out to our back patio, including the already decorated Christmas tree. And then move it all back in except for my giant bookcases, because it just feels so airy in here, and those heavy bookcases really weighed down the place, and now I have boxes and boxes of homeless books.

Marie Kondo would be be proud of me. Not so proud of the fact that they’re all sitting in my garage until I figure something out.

The floors look amazing. But here’s the thing. When the installer guys ripped up the carpet, there was a layer of fine dust on the concrete. We asked if it was disintegrated carpet pad. He said, oh so eloquently, “Ah, no. That’s dirt. From your feet.”

Ew.

When we decided on dark floors, everyone – EVERYONE – said that the biggest pain was that every single piece of dust or dirt or hair or minuscule skin particle would show. But when the floor is clean, it makes the house. They were right on both counts. We have a little fluffy sweeper pad that we can run around the house if we need to clean in a hurry, and the amount of crap that collects in a 24 hour period is amazing and also gross, considering when we had carpet I would pretty much wait to vacuum until I could not stand it anymore. (Christian was the vacuumer and usually did it on weekends, but sometimes the burden did fall on me, and what a burden it was.) So now we get to see exactly how much dust and debris was collecting on our floors all this time. So fortunate.

Not long after we scheduled our floor installation back in December – like maybe a whole day later – the people from bObsweep offered to send me one of their robotic vacuums, the bObi pet, designed specifically for homes that may or may not have massive amounts of pet hair floating around.

And I stared at my email in disbelief for a moment and then said, “YES PLEASE.” Because did you read the part up above about me waiting until the end of days to clean the floors? Now I could have someone to do it for me. Laziness achievement unlocked.

The bObi pet came with her – yes, it’s a girl! – own birth certificate, which was enough to convince the girls that they had a new sister.

bobi pet robotic vacuum

This little thing is so sleek. She (yes, I will continue to refer to the vacuum as a she, because it humanizes her, and robots need love too) has a simple interface on her…face…where you can tell her to GO! (run rampant around your room using her complex cleaning algorithm that rivals Google) or WAFFLE (stick to a smaller area for spills, or in my house, “Who was eating crackers right here and missed their mouth several times?”) or JUICE, which sends her home to her charging station.

bobi pet robotic vacuum

Before waffling this poor, neglected area under the toy box

bobi pet robotic vacuum

After waffling. Good job, bObi!

My favorite thing to do with bObi is to pick up all the odds and ends around the living room – which seems much easier now that we have less furniture in the room – and just let her run around and do her thing for a while. If she starts running low on battery, she’ll send herself home. You can even program her to clean at the same time every day. I am a creature of inconsistency, so I haven’t taken advantage of that just yet. The only time bObi seems to have trouble is around dark pieces of furniture, which is disclosed in the owner’s manual. She gets a little confused around the dark wood media center, which sits a little off the floor, but not high enough for her to go all the way under.

bobi pet robotic vacuum

She also sometimes makes this easel her bitch, dragging it across the room, but no biggie. MOVE ALONG.

bObi came with a side brush that kicks dirt and debris away from the wall so she can then suck it up, an extra filter, and a microfiber pad that you can wet with water or cleaning solution. Yes, she will sweep and mop at the same time (although the mop pad doesn’t retain enough fluid to mop a large room). She has sensors that detect dirt and dust, and UV light that disinfects as she goes.

I mean, I never planned on having another baby, but I guess if my girls were going to get another sibling, it may as well be one that cleans, right? bObi, you are here to stay. We love you. Just remember who cleans your filter. Because I love you the most.

 

bobi pet robotic vacuum

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7
unclench yourself

When I think about 2016 and everything I want to accomplish, one word keeps popping up: UNCLENCH.

I do not have a to-do list of my dream online publications, an upcoming novel, or even a set of attainable blog goals. When I say “everything I want to accomplish,” I really mean what I want to do for myself, or what I want to undo, for that matter.

I need to unclench.

This term comes from a physical need for me to literally stop clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth – something I do when I’m stressed out and overwhelmed. It causes terrible headaches and jaw pain, something I haven’t experienced since before I had kids, when I was stressed out about spending every day of my foreseeable future in a dismal and uninspiring (for me) job. I left that job when I had twins and entered a whole different kind of stress. But the jaw pain was gone, because I was free.

The second half of 2015 was hectic and mostly unenjoyable for me. I took on too much – my own fault, because in foresight, I said, “Why not?” but in hindsight, I say “WTF was I thinking?” I have been unorganized and scatterbrained. I had to let a lot of things that had previously been important to me slide: writing, blogging, laundry (only important if you take into account the fact that clothing is, in fact, a must).

In 2016 something has to change. I know things need to come off my plate, or #offthebeam, as Jen Hatmaker describes in her book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (affiliate link FYI), which I am about halfway through. In the first chapter, titled “Worst Beam Ever,” Jen says this:

Decide which parts are draining you dry. What do you dread? What are you including for all the wrong reasons? What parts are for approval? Is there anything you could delegate or hand off? Could you sacrifice a Good for a Best? Throw out every should or should not and make ruthless cuts. Go ahead. Your beam is too crowded. I know it.1

These decisions are harder than they sound. I want to meet my girlfriends for lunch once a month. I should be able to work in a once-a-month lunch, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes that once-a-month falls in a bad week. If I haven’t planned the rest of my week around it – or even if I have – sometimes things just come up. (Sidebar: Girlfriends, don’t give up on me. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever be able to meet up. I live for having lunch or coffee or even better, COCKTAILS with you. Just know that sometimes it won’t be possible. Also, know that I realize that I am not the sun around which your social events revolve, and my inability to participate in some events is harder on me than it is on you.)

I'm no room mom, but making it to my kids' class plays, our last kindergarten winter party and on some field trips is immensely important to me. I will make time for those.

I’m no room mom, but making it to my kids’ class plays, our last kindergarten winter party and on some field trips is immensely important to me. I will make time for those. Also, this picture is the perfect illustration of my life.

That’s just one example in what seems like thousands. But in thinking of my priorities and what must get done, some clear winners come out:

• I must make sure my family is taken care of and that there is food in the fridge and dinner on the table (at least a few times a week I will actually cook said dinner) (maybe).

• I must be able to give my kids my undivided attention when they need it. They don’t always need it, because the three of them often come straight home from school and head straight out onto the trampoline. But every once in a while, our kids do little things to show us that they need us now. We must listen to these little things. Sometimes those little things consist of a stream of consciousness fan fiction mashup of Star Wars and Ninja Turtles, in which BB8 is in love with April O’ Neil. I don’t get it either, but if it’s important to her, it’s important to me.

• I cannot go through every day with a headache from clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth.

• I must divide my time – and my brain – between work time and me time. It’s not healthy for any of us to think about work all of the time.

Those are just a few things that have come to the surface. And I know I cannot accomplish those few things with so many other things on my beam. I’ll figure it out. Sometimes the decision process is more agonizing than the actual decision, and I look back and think “Why was that so hard?” But right now it seems excruciating. I’ll be looking at my calendar and working out what can stay and what needs to go.

And I’m going to unclench.

Life goal: do more of this.

Life goal: do more of this.

 

  1. Jen Hatmaker, For the Love (Nelson Books, 2015), 7.

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1
what I’m watching: Bake Off edition

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I talk about what I’m streaming online. What should I watch next?

In the last several years of TV watching, we’ve had kids’ shows, and we’ve had “Mom and Dad shows.” We’ve sat down with the girls to watch a kid-friendly movie, and a lot of times we enjoy it, but it’s been rare that we’ve been all in on something as a family.

Until now.

great british bake off netflix
 

I started watching the Great British Bake-Off (titled the Great British Baking Show in the US and on Netflix) a few weeks ago at the suggestion of a friend (thanks Cathy!). Since we never watch live TV at home (not even the news or the Olympics, I KNOW), I haven’t seen a reality-type show in forever, and I forgot how much they can suck you in. No, baking contestant, don’t throw your creation in the trash! I mean, who knew baking could be so dramatic???

luis GBBO great briish bake off netflix

INSERT DRAMATIC CRESCENDO HERE.

When I got tired of waiting until bedtime to watch it, I invited Claire to watch with me one afternoon. She’s always loved to cook and bake, as much as I can let her help me without everyone else begging to add their own contribution. And what followed was some of the most important and highly cherished individual time I’ve spent with her in a long time. She always jumped at the chance to watch an episode with me. If I headed to the living room, she’d instead drag me to my bedroom, where we could snuggle up in my bed and watch.

Plus it inspired her to come up with her own concoction. So watch out, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry!

She had 3 of these, varying heights, displayed on a plate in my fridge for DAYS.

She had 3 of these, varying heights, displayed on a plate in my fridge for DAYS.

What I loved about the GBBO is that while it’s as dramatic as baking can be, it’s not over the top, Real Housewives drama. British people are so charming! The judges are straightforward, but still kind. There was no bickering or fighting amongst the contestants. Incredibly humble, they all supported each other to no end. Even when there was the slightest hint of an altercation, the affected baker chose not to rip on the other contestant, and no mention was made of it in interviews. No additional drama was created. It was good, wholesome, delicious television that we were all equally interested in.

Also, I’m going to need to see Jordan and Iain in a new series called Hipster British Baking, please and thank you.

I could only hope to be half as passionate about anything as these people were about their baking. I mean, I bake a mean sugar cookie, but when you talk about yeast and rising and gluten activation, I’m out. I’ll shell out good money for something I didn’t screw up.

So now that we’ve finished the season (which is from 2014, FYI, not a current season), we need a new cooking/baking show to watch together. I want it to remain light hearted and feel-good. Netflix gave me a lot of recommendations, and I think we may try out Cupcake Wars. I’d really like to stick with baking and stay away from the Gordon Ramsay-esque drama.

What are you watching?

 

 

 

 

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6
things that are good/need improvement

THINGS THAT ARE GOOD

• I’ve had 1.5 glasses of wine, AKA “typing is hard right now.”

• My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are visiting for Christmas. It’s hectic and crazy, but the good kind of hectic and crazy. And my kids keep calling their aunt Maddie or Michelle or Jenny, but her name is in fact Jessica. Names are hard.

• I have new floors! And new baseboards! I feel like I live in a whole new house! Or at least half of one, because we still have the old 80s carpet in the bedrooms and the old 80s tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. We will get there. Someday.

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pre-baseboards

• We’re watching Elf. “I like to whisper too!”

Hipster Holidays Radio on Pandora

• It’s almost Christmas! As a kid I never saw the appeal of Christmas as an adult. Adults got boring gifts: clothes, gadgets, socks. I remember one year my dad saying that experiencing Christmas through your children made it magical again. And he was right.

I got to visit all of my kids’ holiday parties at school this year. Rachel and Claire’s classes each did a play, and then got to crash Zoe’s party in the kindergarten hall. It was loud and overwhelming and hilarious and the perfect end to the first semester.

• I’m calm. I feel in control of my emotions and my moods and my reactions. This is a big deal for me, the over-reacter and over-emotional and slightly snippy person.

• Christmas cookies.

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THINGS THAT COULD USE IMPROVEMENT

• My cats are annoying as hell. Tiger is going deaf, he peed on Rachel’s backpack this morning, and Buffy throws up constantly. The one thing they don’t do is mess with the Christmas tree. Tiger can only eat canned food and is sitting next to my computer as I type, waiting for his dinner. Then Buffy will also go eat some of that dinner and throw up right in the dish. If I gave the word, Christian would have those cats gone in a heartbeat, but I feel like there’s a lesson here, a lesson of “we took these animals in, and we have to care for them until they die or try to kill us.” It’s unclear which will happen first.

• The floor guys didn’t do actual transitions from laminate to carpet, so we have carpet flaps hanging out of each bedroom. It’s ghetto but I can’t real care about that one bit because NEW FLOORS NEW HOUSE FA LA LA LA LAAAAA LA LA LA LA.

• I’m still having a really hard time typing.

• We went to a funeral today. I’m grateful my MIL and SIL could watch our kids so we could go to celebrate our friend’s mother’s life. But at the same time, I hate seeing my loved ones hurting.

• Between Christmas and work and life, I’m crazy busy. I do not like being crazy busy. You know those people who work full time and bake and create and do extracurricular stuff and send immaculate Christmas cards a month in advance and host parties and do all the things? I am not one of those people. I am a low energy introvert who needs not just her down time, but her me time. Right now I’m not getting much of either, and it makes me very anxious. Also we couldn’t find anything to wear to the funeral today because I hadn’t done the laundry.

• Christmas cookies. I feel like I don’t want to look at another Christmas cookie as long as I live, but then I remembered I forgot to make spritz cookies, so NOM NOM NOM here we go! Also, I made a shitton of cookies for my dad’s annual birthday/Christmas delivery, but I don’t think they’re going to get shipped off. (Because we will eat them all before I get to the post office.)

 

I wish all of you the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest of New Years!

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11
an airing of general grievances

47) Remember when I lost almost 20 pounds on an ultra low carb plan, eating practically nothing but meat and cheese and salad (with once a week carbs)? Because I was committed and NEVER cheated? After we went on vacation in June, I had a hard time being 100% diligent about tracking my eating. I mean, what’s a spoonful of Nutella here and there? (It’s delicious, that’s what it is.) I wasn’t gaining, but I wasn’t losing either. I took a break from the plan in October, after being on it for 6 months. Now I’m back on. Or I’m supposed to be.

I was supposed to start back up again in November, but for some reason I cannot get myself back in the low carb mindset. I’m not tracking my meals, and I’m sneaking fistfuls of Pirate Booty, not to mention all the holiday sweets. And I can’t make myself care. My weight is slowly creeping back up (I do care about that. I worked hard, yo!). I keep telling myself TODAY IS THE DAY I WILL START FRESH. And then I eat a cookie.

The good thing (uh…) is that since I’m not used to eating sugars and carbs, I feel like complete crap, which after going almost completely berserk this week (started my holiday baking, equal parts YUM and UGH), is a good motivator to cut that shit out again. I’ll let you know how it goes. Unless I completely crap out on myself again, then I’ll quietly mope in the corner, me and my extra pounds.

3b) Christian. I love him. He’s amazing. But he made a grave error in booking his mom’s flight, and she ended up with two return flights from Austin to Minneapolis. It was just miles and not real $$$, but we had to spend extra miles to fix it. He was so pissed at himself, and while I was slightly irritated (also relieved it wasn’t me that made the error because WHEW), I couldn’t add to that grief. So I turned into the “we all make mistakes” cheerleader. That’s what marriage is all about, folks. Unless we’re having to pay another actual $500 for a flight. Then I may not be so cheery.

Article iv) We’re getting new floors soon, so GREAT IDEA let’s paint the walls before we get the floors installed! Because December isn’t stressful enough! I’ve disliked the majority of our wall color since we painted it, but painting is a lot of work, so we’ve just lived with it for almost 10 years. We also have a red accent wall that I used to love, but I pretty much got over that about 6 years ago.

This is not the gray you are looking for.

This is not the gray you are looking for.

We selected a nice gray (too light), then selected an even nicer gray. This is also where we find out that painting at night is not ideal unless you want to wake up to find patchy spots all over the room! Yay for second coats and new baseboards and floors that aren’t gross!

Epilogue) I don’t know how much longer I can work as much as I am. I know it’s my own fault for taking on more work than I’m fit for. I guess I have some decisions to make, but decisions are hard, so I’m going to avoid it for a while, or until I implode. See also: Waking up with massive headaches from all night jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

How I feel most days.

How I feel most days.

What’s up with you? Feel free to air your general grievances!

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4
Austin’s Trail of Lights + ZiP Fast Pass Giveaway

austin trail of lights

We love Christmas lights, and we love Austin-y things, but can you believe we hadn’t been to Austin’s renowned Trail of Lights since Rachel and Claire were babies? Yup. Their first Christmas season, we hauled them downtown and pushed them through the Trail in the double stroller. We marveled at the displays; they had absolutely no idea what was going on.

We do visit the Zilker Tree, adjacent to the Trail, each year, but since then, we’ve only spied the Trail from across the park and in passing from the highway. The massive displays were on hiatus for a couple of years, but now they’re back and bigger than ever. Like I told my girls, “It’s so many lights, you can’t even fathom it.”

“What does fathom mean?”

“It’s a whole lotta lights.”

Austin trail of lights

You can go see a whole lotta lights too! I have ONE ZiP Fast Pass to give away to one lucky reader. The ZiP Fast Pass is good for one adult (children age 5 and under are free). The ZiP Fast Pass, presented by HomeAway, gives attendees front-of-the-line access to the Trail at 6pm, before it opens to the public. ZiP purchasers will also have access to Kringle’s Kantina and the HomeAway ZiP Lounge in the VIP Hospitality area for cookies and hot cocoa. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below! And please adhere to the mandatory entry requirements so I don’t have do delete any entries! It’s been done. THIS IS A SUPER FAST GIVEAWAY ONLY OPEN FROM 12/10 – MIDNIGHT 12/11!

ZiP Fast Passes are available for purchase from 12/9 –17 for $15/person and $20/person 12/18 – 22. ZiP passes are an optional upgrade, but if you choose to purchase ZiP passes are required for anyone age 6+. 5 and under are free. ZiP can be purchased in advance, online or at the ZiP box office in the park. You can present your ZiP ticket at the Trail on your phone or print your pass (although if you are my winner, I have a physical wristband to give you). ZiP passes serve as your admission ticket. No additional gate ticket is required.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a few more photos from our trip to the Trail. I’m so glad we got to go this year. My kids were old enough to be able to hoof it through the Trail, but still young enough to still believe in the magic. I still believe in the magic too. trail of lights austin

trail of lights austin

Entering the bat cave…

trail of lights austin

Texas Santa comes riding in on a jackelope.

trail of lights austin trail of lights austin

trail of lights austin

Don’t miss the free books from HEB!

 

 

Twinkle twinkle. #austin #atx @atxlights

 

A video posted by Leigh Ann Torres (@latorres78) on

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1
this actually happened (a dental nightmare)

So let me break down the last week.

a)    NaBloPoMo ended unceremoniously, since I skipped out on the last few days. I didn’t mean to, but being out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, coupled with my lack of planning and a dash of laziness, made finishing the month out less than desirable. I’m always up for a challenge, but if it starts to interfere with my stress level or my bedtime, I’m out. See also: Why I haven’t posted since.

b)   Zoe had major* dental surgery.

c)    *10-minute procedure, but very traumatic for all of us who had to look at her.

Unbeknownst to me, the last photo I would take of her with her normal, 5-year-old smile.

Unbeknownst to me, the last photo I would take of her with her normal, 5-year-old smile.

Last Tuesday, a freak scooter accident sent Zoe sailing into the concrete, face first. I was trailing several feet behind her, so like any other fall, I jogged until I caught up with her in front of our neighbor’s house, assuming she had maybe scraped a knee or something minor. My kids tend to scream bloody murder at paper cuts, so I wasn’t too concerned.

When I got up to her, she sat up, hand covering her face, and screamed, “MAH MOUF!” Her hand moved to the side, and I saw blood everywhere.

I may have freaked out and yelled something along the lines of, “Oh, Jesus!” as I scooped her up and ran her back to our house. We’d been gone a matter of minutes, Christian was still lingering around in a sleepy stupor when I opened the door, handed a bloody-faced daughter to him and said, “DEAL WITH THIS PLEASE I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.” And then I walked Rachel and Claire to school while Claire accused me of only loving Zoe and only taking care of her when she’s hurt. Kids are fun.

When I got back, Zoe was laying on the couch, teary and whimpery. I looked at Christian, like, “Well? How is she?” Up until this point, I hadn’t really taken a good look at her, and I’d hoped that at the worst, she’d split a lip.

He shook his head. “They’re pretty loose in there.”

IMG_5250

Now there are a lot of things I can deal with as a parent. I have been pooped on and spit up on. I have a mean vomit radar and can rock the stomach bug care-taking like nobody’s business. But the one thing I cannot handle is bloody, loose teeth, even ones not caused by a run-in with the sidewalk.

One trip to the dentist later, and we learned that she in fact broke her two front teeth in her fall, right above the gum line.

“Mom, have you felt how loose these teeth are in here?” I love our dentist, but our twice yearly visits mean she doesn’t know me very well. Because the answer to that was a very emphatic NO. I hadn’t even gone to great lengths to clean the blood off her lips because GROSS.

Also, mother of the year.

And that is how Zoe ended up having dental surgery at 6:30am on a Friday morning.

IMG_5273

The days between the accident and the surgery were sad and filled with all of us trying to figure out what she could eat. The mouth pain itself subsided so that she felt like telling everyone in Costco about her broken teeth and how today the dentist gave her a coin and she got a bouncy ball, but on Friday she’s getting her teeth out and she’s going to get TWO COINS. Thank you, Direct TV sales rep, for humoring her and listening to her plight.

Thursday evening she made sure she went to bed in her favorite penguin jammies, so she could wear them to the dentist in the wee hours of the morning. She took her stuffed owl, Hoot. My nephew sent her a new stuffed tiger to accompany her during the procedure. She named him Soft and told everyone, “My cousin – he’s 10 and a boy – gave this to me to bring to the dentist.”

The anesthesiologist asked her questions about her Thanksgiving while he gave her laughing gas and she slipped under (not something I ever want to watch again if I can help it), and before I could even get settled down in the next room, they were finishing up. Coming around from the anesthesia was a little traumatic, as was having a big wad of gauze stuffed in the gap where her teeth used to be. All morning long she cried that she wanted her teeth back (UGH, right in the mama feels!), but after a Tinker Bell movie marathon and a 2-hour nap, she was begging to jump on the trampoline.

The answer to that was NO.

By Friday night she was completely back to normal. By Sunday I started to get a feeling that she knows exactly how cute she sounds with no front teeth, as she seems to be going to extra lengths to use lots of “s” words.

Thtinker.

Even I get a little squeamish looking at this one.

Even I get a little squeamish looking at this one.

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