Friday, December 30, 2016

Staycation, all I ever wanted

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that a measly four days off of work feels like some life-changing event, which I think is sadly and pathetically indicative of my situation lately. We watched Storks last night with the kids (SO GOOD, and the tears!) and there's a part where one character keeps asking another, "Why do you want to be the boss?" And I got all stupidly emotional like, "I don't want to be the boss! You're right anthropomorphic bird!" Gah. Two weeks (hopefully, God help us) left until I can go back to the job I only disliked a normal amount. Also, Storks combined with a Facebook quiz (so psychometrically sound) and the realization that I was going to have to do more than wish myself fit has made me seriously consider whether we can fit another kid into the damn car. Oh! And I think we're getting another dog. Because of course we are. I do contentment so f-ing well.

BUT. My staycation has been amazing so far. We hiked. I collected a bazillion flat, round rocks for my story stones. I read an entire book in one day, which is something I'm not sure I've done since Syd was born. I played with my instantpot and didn't blow my house up. C and I had a great talk about our family goals for 2017 (Surprise! It includes not being money idiots anymore! Again!) and we've started planning our spring break road trip. I cleared the family bulletin board and hung my new "Family Organizer" ("Helping you put your family first since 1993!") I came up with a list of "Kindle Rules" for all the kids after we caught *someone* watching inappropriate youtube videos, complete with a "cheat sheet" of what parental guidance level each kid is allowed. We've watched several movies together.  Today we went to three separate animal shelters. We have seriously been under-utilizing that as an outing for our animal loving Averson. She cannot see a dog without asking to pet it and so being able to walk and see so many animals was basically her version of Disneyland. Except for the part where the enormous, mangy dogs lunged and snarled at her. That part was kind of like if It's a Small World was designed by Steven King. She recovered quickly though. We found a dog we all loved, and more importantly who matched our pre-determined name, but she won't be open for adoption until next week. C is going to stake out the place and we're all praying that Atticus doesn't eat her. Stay tuned.  

Tomorrow we are going to a family NYE party and I'm going to bring an app that I actually planned and cooked. Seriously. Shenanigans over here. I'm also researching options for becoming independently wealthy in little or no time and with little to no effort. I think I'm outside the Sugar Baby demographic, but I haven't completely eliminated the possibility.

Christmas on the coast

For the first time since Eli was born, we spent Christmas away from home. I was worried it would be a lot of work (it was) and maybe not so fun. I was so wrong on the second count. We had awesome time.
We drove down after school on Friday. Luckily the kids had pajama day, so they were already in their copies. The drive was long after being up since 4:30, but it wasn't awful awful.
Saturday my dad had arranged for a trolley ride and a lighthouse tour. The storm passed and the weather was beautiful. The lighthouse was AMAZING and now I want to be a light keeper in a 100+ year old lighthouse. I think I could even manage the lack of indoor plumbing in exchange for the cozy rooms and beautiful woodwork. Who do I call?

Christmas was pretty perfect. I released the kids from bed at 6:30. The kid's gifts were a huge hit. The girls both got American Girl dolls (Josefina and Rebecca, if you're curious) and Eli got a scale WWE ring and a slingshot that he still can't believe he got. I got an instantpot (send recipes!). Some sleeper hits included the washi tape in Averson's stocking because she loves sticky stuff, C's Polk High t-shirt, and the MP3 we got Eli. Such a man-child. The girls, the dog, and I accidentally/awesomely took a hike in our slippers and pajamas. We lazed around the rest of the day, day drinking, watching movies, and playing with toys.

We finished off our visit with a fishing trip for the boys and a spa day for the girls. I had the most amazing facial and I left with a new shopping list of products that I "need." (Of course 2017 is also the year we end our financial dumbassery so we'll see how that goes.) The boys came home with a good haul of fish and we cooked them as soon as we got home. They must have been good because the kids ate them without comment. 

I took the week between Christmas and New Years off and we're blissfully staycating. I intentionally disengaged from work and it's been wonderful. I'm not entirely looking forward to going back, which although a bummer has provided some much needed clarity about what I want to do next. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's beginning to look minimally like Christmas (ironically picture heavy)

For the first time since we had children, we're going to be spending Christmas away from home. That, combined with the shit show that is my job right now, has resulted in some serious phoning in of holiday festivities. Seriously. My house is really quite minimally dressed for the holiday. We did no lights, no tree, no stockings. Basically I pulled a few things from the top of the box, threw in the stuff that never made it to the boxes last year, and called it a day. 
Our "tree"

I put zero effort into our wrapping paper choices either, though I do love the tacos. I feel a little bit like it might be weird? Or maybe a Trump-y FU? 

These are my favorites, so I actually did pull them out on purpose
So in response to my house being totally Bah Humbuged, and of course in typical "I'm so busy!" fashion, I have been cramming in the "Special Holiday Memories!" 

School pancakes and pajamas breakfast. They ran out of coffee, which was as tragic as it sounds. 

Living Nativity. This is always a hit and one of my favorites. 
Before the Christmas kid's show at church. I love that I have almost completely lost control of their wardrobe choices. That explains why Syd wore combat boots with her sequined dress. My FB friend pointed out that they appear to be dressed for three different seasons. #californiakids

Our realtor does a Santa party every year that I obsessively look forward to. It's a free Santa in a bar. There's really no competition. 
Our friends threw a Gingerbread house party for the kids. But she greeted me at the door with this ridiculousness, so there are no pictures. Trust me when I say it was worth it. That's peppermint whipped cream.
 C, Eli and I volunteered at an event where families who couldn't afford to buy Christmas presents were able to come shop for gifts. It was so, so fun and Eli was really excited about it. He's such a generous soul and he really loves stuff like this. He thanked us multiple times for letting him join, and he was actually pretty helpful. It's nice that he's old enough to participate in a meaningful way. I told him we could volunteer at different places all year and he literally jumped for joy. He may not be a turd ALL the time, despite the copious eye rolling he does.  

 All we have left is building our TJ's gingerbread A-Frame, which I'm less than enthusiastic about, and decorating cookies (see above.) I threw a surprise office party today because my staff are a bunch of party poopers typically. I was worried about it being a grumble-fest, but it went really well. I think the key to planning a low pressure work party is to not tell anyone about it, and then bring donuts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I'm just going to label all of my posts "Catching Up"

 I'm not even going to bother with excuses. So that next year I don't forget that we celebrated Thanksgiving and did stuff...

My brother and his wife came for Thanksgiving and there were SO MANY DOGS

And so much meat (the two are unrelated.) So much for my plans to be vegetarian...

My typically cautious brood begged to do the "Jumping Spider" at the mall

And Syd spent her allowance on a stuffed Narwhal named Natalie

I introduced my parents to SnapChat filters

We took a hike in the rain that was awesome

And turned a giant rock swastika into a peace sign

Much puddle jumping and adorable-ness

Saturday, November 19, 2016


I have no idea how to use Snapchat as a social network, but I have hundreds of pictures like this on my phone. It's the epitome of narcissistic fun :) 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Want to see something adorable?

Averson asked if she could get her hair cut so that it won't get caught in the swings anymore (I don't know that that's actually ever happened, but whatevs.) Her hair was super long and super thin, which made it super hard to keep untangled, so off we went!
They stylist said there wasn't enough to donate but now I'm questioning whether that was true. I'm going to comfort myself with the fact that there was candy in the hair and probably no one's looking for crap covered donations. 

It's ridiculously cute and she has that strut that lets you know that she thinks she's pretty hot shit. I love it so much. 

And in other news. I'm still working through my feelings about the election. I am sad and scared and disappointed. I think I'll probably feel more strongly after the 19th, because I'm still holding out hope that we'll get an electoral upset. I know there's not a chance, but that's how I roll. It's not over until it's really over. I, like everyone else I think, is getting inundated with really awful messages from both sides. I'm trying to avoid the "all the idiots" rants (from both sides) but I've grasped on to the calls for kindness. In church yesterday I glanced over to what Syd was coloring and she'd created this
I'm going to hang on to this. I think that our power as women lies in our power as women and I love this as a rally cry. We are strong and valuable and capable and important, and we have the ability to change the world through our passion and our fire. Love is my life.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Catching up - Halloween!

So it turns out that Daylight Savings Time is AWESOME when you don't have to be anywhere. I found myself quietly wandering a silent house at 6:30 this morning while all of my sickies slept. I'm at about 70%, which technically means I could've gone to work if C wasn't hovering at about 10%/catatonic. So I'm cleaning and resting and may venture out to the grocery store and will definitely be doing our laundry and dishes.

And catching up on the blog. I looked back and it's been THREE WEEKS since my last post. I briefly had thoughts of participating in NaBloPo, but damn. I almost went an entire month without posting. Daily seems overly ambitious.

Halloween has become at least a weeklong event with school parties (not for the Bigs this year), Trunk or Treats, and Scout parties.

These were the original costumes
Wonder Woman! Loved this so much when I found it in the bottom of a bag of hand-me-downs. She wore it to preschool, but with pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, and without the cape, crown, or boots. It was an ambiguous costume to say the least.  

Zombie Princess! This is the only costume I put any work into. She wore it to ComicCon and I think she got overwhelmed by the attention because she was OVER IT by the time Halloween happened. Still an awesome costume though. 

Fighter. Totally thrown together but he owned this one. Mad Props to the Boy Scout photographer for the legit shot to memorialize this.
And then there was actual Halloween

Both girls changed their minds from their original costumes (Avery twice), making me very grateful that I hadn't put a ton of time and energy into their first ideas this year. I was a little bummed about the Zombie Princess. I learned years ago though to let go of my Pinterest-y goals of homemade, original costumes. The kids mostly came up with their own this year, they loved them, and they wore them without complaint. Bonus that it cost me almost nothing. I would've gone whole-hog if they'd wanted it but I'm totally cool with them being creative and independent.
Entirely inappropriate birthday gifts from my girlfriends. "Luckily" most of our kids can read now, so advance apologies for anyone that discusses the Gliterati with them. Because we love sparkles so much. #girlpower #lieswetellchildren

My zombie princess changed course and went as a football player. Easiest, comfiest costume ever. 

Fighter, Football player, and "Little Einsteins" (not Rocket or any specific character)
Our friend offered to let Averson borrow this costume and she was so overcome with gratitude that all she could manage was a whispered, wide-eyed "Thank you!"  She was adamant that she was not a character though, and yelled at several people about it. 

Dressed up for our work Trunk or Treat. I'm in the middle. NOT the comfiest, easiest costume but it was a hit. Pro tip: If you wear control top pantyhose as a top, your strapless dress will slide down. Keep that in mind at work functions.