Sunday, April 23, 2017

Living for the weekend?

I am not exactly "enjoying" my work these days. It's all super boring and nothing so awful that I'm actually doing anything about it, but still. On a scale of one to ten, I'm about at a "I wouldn't exactly hate getting the flu and having to stay home because I'm puking my guts up." I'm not whining because I know these are first world problems, and that I'm not doing anything to change it so I really need to STFU. BUT, I do look forward to my weekends.

Which means it really fucking blows when my weekend sucks. Yesterday I was so irritated and stabby that I couldn't even write about it because it would not have been funny. I think it's worse when you really NEED the weekend to go well and then it doesn't. It started with deciding not to go to the March for Science, despite planning for WEEKS to go, because I knew we had a birthday party to go to later that day and that I wanted to get my chores done. That way I could drink good booze and eat good food (that I didn't cook), with people I haven't seen in forever, while my kids ran amok unsupervised. I'd also be clear today so I could hangover in peace.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that obviously that plan didn't work out. First, while I was at Target, Syd got in trouble and C suspected her of lying. He told her that if, when I got home, it turned out I hadn't said what she said I did, she wouldn't be able to go to the party. So OF COURSE I didn't say what she said I had. So fuck. Party was out because it's weird for adults to go to 7 year old's doggy parties without a child in tow. Syd takes her licks like a champ, but she and I were both super bummed out. So we cleaned house and did laundry instead, interspersed with mild bouts of yelling. I let the kids have friends over in the afternoon, trying to redeem the situation, and that ended in me sending neighbor kids home, two broken pictures (from separate incidents), and all of my kids in tears. Needless to say I popped a beer early and often. The day didn't get any better. I folded a million loads of laundry (which was NOT relaxing) and then the fucking dog ate my fucking my bathmat.
This is not a large bathroom and that is not a small dog. Who has gas.


Today was moderately better. No one cried and I didn't start drinking until a respectable hour. But still. I want a weekend do-over because I don't feel relaxed or rejuvenated. While I was wallowing in self-pity today, I decided that I need to be more intentional about my weekends if I'm going to give them so much weight. Yet the song of my people (that is, middle aged suburban moms) is either the public and emetic proclamations of the need for "me time" or the martyrish denial of anything that doesn't benefit my special snowflakes. I think by virtue of my work and so much focus on self-care and burnout, I fall somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, it appears that I've completely forgotten what it is that rejuvenates me and constitutes a "good weekend." I have a tendency to Fill. All. The. Hours, which is great but often ends up with all of us tired and the house trashed. On the other hand, weekends at home often end up in chores, chores, and more chores because we've let the house get trashed. And I never feel great about taking off on my own during the weekend because C has been with the kids all week (I'm totally willing to reevaluate this stance.)

So that's where the magical people of the interwebs come in. What do you do to renew on your days off? What constitutes a good weekend? And how do you recover from a craptastic day?

And tangentially related, I want to spruce up my office. What cool office things do you have that make your day a bit brighter?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Break part 3

I absolutely should be grading the hundreds of discussion boards that I'm behind on but OMG I do not want to grade anything right now. I also don't want to be prepping for my class. Basically I'd like to avoid adulting if at all possible. 

Because we love a good roadtrip, we followed up our trip home with another 8 hour drive to Denver. 

Our house there was equally cool and I felt hipper just being in it. The upside of all these cute houses is that I want to trash all my crap and start over in my house. Preferably with no stuff because empty houses are pretty houses!

Our main goal in Denver was to go to the Downtown Aquarium. We also decided at the last minute to try to get a tour of the Denver Mint. The tours are hard to get, but we were able to sign up for the very last one of the day by getting there at the butt-crack of dawn. Tickets in hand, we met up with my aunt to see the fish. It was just us and about 300 elementary school kids (aka SO LOUD.) But the kids LOVED it. 

Especially the mermaid show. Syd was adamant that we get her picture with a mermaid because a boy in her class had tried to tell her that mermaids weren't real. I think she may have been suspicious watching the show, but she was a good sport nonetheless. 

Everyone loved petting the stingrays until one splashed Averson. 

And then C got DRENCHED. So 2/5s of us went to lunch looking like we'd wet ourselves. 

 The Mint was awesome! I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. No pictures because national security and all of that. All three kids found it interesting. Avery also really liked talking to the policewoman who escorted our group. Who also encouraged Syd to practice safe-cracking. So there's that...

Eli's totally reading Bossypants and loving it. 
The next day we went to the zoo. We were there super early, since C had a tattoo appointment that afternoon. It's a really nice zoo and there were a ton of baby animals, including a surprise baby giraffe. Take that, April! This zoo didn't even know she was pregnant. Apparently she was on birth control and they're still waiting for the DNA test to prove who the father is.
Collecting these smashed pennies has become one of my favorite vacation traditions. I *may* have even googled the locations of the machines. 

As we were leaving, Averson started giggling and said, "I drank pretend milk from it's nipple!" So we're lucky she didn't bring home a souvenir case of e-coli. 

The drive home was pretty unremarkable. Because there was ice on the last pass between us and home, we stopped early in Nevada (before we ended up at the Bates Motel in BFE Nowhere.) That meant a pizza picnic, cable TV, and swimming! 

 I foresee a lot of muscle shirts this summer. 

They rode for over two hours like this. 
Getting a dog sitter was one of the best decisions we made in this whole thing. 1) I didn't spend 40+ hours in the car with two 50lb, crazy dogs. 2) My dog sitter kept my house intact. 3) She made us this super sweet collage when we got home.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Home (Spring Break part 2)

My home town is pretty small, so it's hard to find new and interesting things to do with the kids when we go back. We love seeing our family but we also tend to get a bit stir crazy. This year we realized that all of our kids were big enough to go to the ruins without a) falling off a cliff or into a hole or b) getting us kicked out. We chose the Aztec ruins because it was less cliff-y and a shorter drive than Mesa Verde. Also, C and I went on about a million field trips to both and we both remembered Aztec being more fun. It did not disappoint. The bigs ran ahead and Averson had a captive audience for her "reading" of all the educational material. All three did the Junior Ranger activity which was a huge hit and something we'll continue doing. Eli even researched to see if there were any National Parks or Monuments anywhere else on our drive. 
Avery is telling her aunt all about the "stretchy people" (Navajo) who had pet bionic snakes and slept on "prickly beds that stretched them out while they slept. And those are the birds that guard them while they're sleeping." Not exactly accurate but a pretty good hypothesis based on the art work. 

She was very earnest about her Junior Ranger work and investigating the ruins. 

And she took the oath VERY seriously. 

Junior Ranger! She wore the badge night and day for the rest of the trip. 
On a whim, we stopped to show the kids where I went to elementary school. As we pulled up, I realized that it was also adjacent to the church C and I got married in and that the kids had never seen it. It is a gorgeous traditional church with huge stained glass windows. The kids really loved seeing it. We recreated our wedding (cliff notes version) and the kids sat in the front row and clapped when we kissed. This may be one of my favorite memories of the whole trip.

The next day we met my sister and her girls at a new playground in town and then, of course, all the kids ended up at the river with their pants rolled up. 

My undergrad gives away special alumni mugs at graduation rehearsal. Mine lasted nearly 12 years, until I started drinking coffee and actually used it and broke the handle. I went back to campus to see if I could replace it. That led to a lengthy scavenger hunt down memory lane. Eli loves this campus and begged for a hat. He also loved that he was able to navigate better than I was.  

We finished off the day at my in-laws, where as luck would have it every single one of my nieces and nephews were crammed into my mother-in-law's living room. It was SO LOUD and so fun. My kids don't get a lot of cousin time. I love how they can jump back in without missing a beat. Each one has at least one age match, so everyone has a buddy. It's so fun and makes me reconsider how much I don't want to deal with snow and limited job opportunities. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Break catch up #1

We got home from our epic road-trip Spring Break a few hours ago and I realized that I didn't get my laptop out even once during the whole week. Which means that I have about 200 pictures and 10 fun-filled days to catch up on!

Our trip was awesome. We drove to our hometown to see the family that lives back there. Some we hadn't seen since Averson was a year old! We left after school on Friday and made it a full 8 hours before we stopped for the night. Our kids were ROCK STARS in the car. I did a few things different this year that I think really helped. The first was controlling access to water bottles. We got there dehydrated, but only had to stop once for a bathroom break. I got each kid a suction cup shower basket that they stuck to their window and used to corral snacks, headphones, dry erase markers, etc. My car is much cleaner for it. We also packed a huge variety of snacks which saved us from hitting drive-thrus. 

And away we go!

At a rest stop in Utah. We stop here every year (it's in the middle of NOWHERE) and it's always crazy windy, so we pretend that we're flying.

I thought this shirt was so clever for roadtripping with all of my people. Then C pointed out at the continental breakfast that you couldn't see the "tail" part of "cocktail," which totally explains the looks I was getting at the Best Western in Utah. 
I love airbnb's for family vacations so, so much. For the price of a mid-range hotel room, I don't have to share a room with my kids OR spend $40 on a breakfast no one eats. However, there is a bit of risk that the house won't live up to my expectations. Both of our houses on this trip were amazing and totally exceeded what we were expecting. Our house in Durango was so much bigger than I thought it would be, and it was super cute and funky. The kids's room had an awesome loft and the master was enormous. I posted pictures of it on Facebook and my sister starting asking oddly specific questions like "Is there a porch to the left of the kitchen?" Turns out that she had friends who used to live in this house (small town fun!) We finally figured it out when I asked, "was there a kill room in the basement?" The basement in this house was literally carved out of the rocks with a painted, hand-poured concrete floor. The kids loved the pingpong table. I loved that there were no obvious blood stains.

Isn't it cute?!
 We do a picture of all the cousins at the old time photo place every time we go back and luckily my niece reminded us this year. The kids did a great job of picking costumes and not throwing a fit about who got the prettiest necklace/scratchiest dress/coolest gun (first time for everything) and just as they were getting started with the pictures we were interrupted by a persistent alarm-y sound. After further investigation, the photographer figured out that it was a fire alarm. All the buildings are connected, so even if the shop wasn't on fire it didn't mean we were clear (or that we could turn off the alarm.) So the kids got to evacuate in all of their finery AND they got to see a firetruck. There were much shenanigans while we waited for the all clear. Once we got it though, the firemen agreed to jump in for a shot.

Abba and the grandbabies recovering from the adventure. 
 Another tradition I didn't remember was getting pulled over for speeding. Seriously. Every. Single. Year. At least this year I got off with a warning.

There's so much more to catch up on, but I don't want to break the blog with too many pictures. Also, I totally didn't plan right and I have to go to work tomorrow, which kind of blows. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Averson's Song

Avery acts like she's in a never ending musical and it's basically the best thing ever