Day 1594 | The Birthday Boy

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I might as well offer a quick update on Chris for his big day. Now it’s a thing.  

UPDATES ON MY 36 YEAR OLD HUSBAND

  • He only wears white or light blue dress shirts to work. No other colors or patterns are acceptable.  
  • He worries the boys have missed their window to be great video gamers. They are 6 and 4. Let that sink in.  
  • He really likes birds of prey. He’s got some sort of radar that goes off when they are within eyeshot. It’s a pretty impressive super power.
  • He’s terrified of pink eye. He has been since I met him.  
  • He eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch everyday.
  • He’s really good at board games. Like, so good I get frustrated because I never win. Luckily, he’s terrible at Speed (the card game) so that’s my confidence booster.  
  • He gets funnier with age. No one can make me laugh the way he does. He just gets me.  
  • He’s probably the best dad ever. And I’m not biased at all. The amount of energy and attention he can offer the boys after working non-stop for 11 hours is truly inspiring. I know he might not be able to offer the quantity of time he’d like to the boys, but he sure makes up for it in quality. The boys have no idea how lucky they are to have such a dedicated, caring, motivated, and funny (they think he’s hysterical, too) role model in their lives. Luckily I tell them all the time.  

Happy birthday to my best friend.  

Day 1593 | A Birthday Update

The whole family pretending to blow out candles.  

The whole family pretending to blow out candles.  

I know you know a lot about what’s going on in our lives, but I realized that there are some pretty big updates about myself that I haven’t shared on here—mostly because I don’t have a photo to go with them, not because I’m withholding information.

A FEW LIFE UPDATES FROM A 35 YEAR OLD

  • I’ve started taking private pilates sessions. It’s pretty amazing. And expensive. But amazing nonetheless.
  • I’ve learned how to successfully soften butter in the microwave. It comes up more than you would think.
  • I can see. I had Lasik eye surgery about three months ago. Waking up in the morning and being able to see is crazy. Real crazy. 
  • I still really like cats. We don’t own one, but I think that only fuels my fire.  
  • My parallel parking skills remain intact. After honing this skill in DC, I’m happy to report that I’ve still got it. I have to work harder to seek out tough parallel parking challenges, but that makes it even sweeter. 
  • Back pain? Still there. I continue to have hope, though.  
  • I really like oat milk lattes. Specifically, oat milk lattes from the coffee shop a block from our house. Handy, right? 
  • I still hate making bunkbeds. It’s been two years and it’s not any easier/less of an acrobatic feat. There has to be an easier option.  

My birthday involved a lot of time inside and more sick snuggles than I would have hoped for, but it’s been a good day. I got to craft a bit, I spent a lot of time with family, and enjoyed a yummy bday dinner and desert with some lovely gifts. In reality, this was a pretty good representation of what life is like these days. I’m present enough to appreciate that. 

Day 1591 | Instant Pics

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Chris and I bought ourselves an early birthday gift. This fun new instant camera. I’ve secretly always wanted one of these and now I own one. Woohoo! 

We are currently in the process of teaching the boys about what is “photo-worthy” because the film is not cheap. They’re used to taking 100 photos of whatever book they’re currently interested in because they’ve only ever known digital cameras. It’ll be a fun challenge, that’s for sure. Tonight we let them take one photo of whatever they wanted. Chase’s is on the left. Robbe’s is on the right. You can decide if they were, in fact, photo-worthy. 

Day 1590 | Sickly Snow Day

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Welp, another snow day. Yep. That’s right. If you’re keeping track, we’re up to seven days for Chase and eight days for Robbe in the last 2.5 weeks. The amount of snow out our windows these days is really shocking. I’ll try to snap a few more photos when everyone is healthy enough to be outside.  

Unfortunately, our snow day was overshadowed by Robbe getting sick. The poor little guy was miserable fighting a stomach bug all day. And Chase was pretty bummed to be without his favorite playmate. I’m hopeful he rounded a corner this evening. Fingers crossed. 

Day 1589 | Chapter Books

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We have been reading chapter books like they are picture books in this house lately. I’ve got to start putting parameters around “do you guys want to pick out a book to read?” Somehow, I end up getting sucked into a chapter book that we then finish in one sitting. It’s intense.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of these chapter books are terribly long. Some don’t take much longer to read than the long picture books we’ve got. But those are pretty scarce around here. Instead, we’re reading full Magic Treehouse books or entire A to Z Mystery.

In case you’re looking for recommendations, here are a few of our favorites.

MY FAVORITE CHAPTER BOOKS

  • The Boxcar Children — These books have gotten us through more car rides than I can remember. Thank goodness for audio books. But we’ve read just as many on our couch at home, too.

  • Dog Man — I have to admit that these aren’t my favorite, but Chase loves them. They are the first book he has willingly sat by himself and read cover to cover. It helps that they are graphic novels with short sentences and lots of pictures. Robbe likes that, too.

  • A to Z Mysteries — We love mysteries at our house. This is a good series with young kids as the main characters. I always appreciate the clean language and kind messages attached to the stories.

  • The Owl Diaries — These are quick reads, but very cute. Robbe really likes these. There are lots of pictures and there is a lot to look at on every page.

  • Narwhal and Jelly — Pretty quick read with lots of silliness. The boys giggled and giggled during these.

  • Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot — This was one of the first series we read. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of educational value with these but they keep the boys’ attention and got them excited about the idea of reading all the books in order.

  • The Magic Treehouse — This is our newest series and we’re all pretty excited about them. I think we’ve made it through around 8-10 of them so far. Each book takes you on an adventure that involves learning some real facts along the way. Win! Chase tends to prefer graphic novels when he’s reading on his own but he’s started reading these solo now, too. It’s hard to say who is more excited about that: me or him.

  • Ivy + Bean, Bad Kitty, Flat Stanley, and The Bad Guys are all new series that we found at the library recently. We’ve just read the first book of all three series, but they were all well received by the experts. We’ll be getting the #2 books when we go back

So those are all books that I would recommend, both as a parent and as a reader (who would also like to enjoy what I’m reading every now and then). On the flip side of the coin, here’s a list of a few chapter books I really can’t stand.

NOT MY FAVORITE CHAPTER BOOKS

  • Geronimo Stilton — The story lines, the language, the way female characters are portrayed…I just don’t like these. The boys were big fans and will still ask to pick them out at the library but I cannot stomach reading them when there are so many other great options out there.

  • DC Super Heroes — The super hero chapter books are terrible. I just don’t understand why there can’t be some decent storylines or takeaway messages. With that said, we still read these quite frequently. The boys love them and they aren’t offensive, so I do my best to let my strong dislike go.

  • Super Pets — These are better than the regular super hero books, but not much. I feel like there’s a bit less violence and the animals are the main characters so there are less scantily clad women and bulky men prancing around.

  • Scooby Doo — Again, this series is a crowd pleaser at our house and we oftentimes come home with one or two Scooby Doos from the library but the chapter books are not written particularly well and the storylines tend to be very similar from one book to the next.

  • Pokemon — Not only are the books are crazy intense to look at and the storylines very complicated to follow (because of unfamiliar names, concepts, and locations) but the books are read right to left (basically from back to front). There’s a cultural lesson to be learned here about how not everyone reads left to right, but not for my emerging readers! This seems unnecessarily confusing for their young minds.

Day 1584 | Snow Day #5

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Yep. That’s right. Another one. We’ve had school called off five of the last six days. That’s crazy. Today’s culprit? Ice. 

The boys and I managed another enjoyable day together. We even braved the slippery sidewalks to grab a treat from our favorite coffee shop—walking is safer than driving, right? 

With two more possibilities for snow this week, maybe we’ll just keep tacking on more days off.  

Day 1580 | Snow Day #3

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Man, we really took advantage of another snow day. By not leaving the house, the boys and I did three science projects, read a chapter book, practiced piano, played some serious Playmobil, set up the pulley again, and watched a movie. All without changing out of their pjs. 

Oh, and school is cancelled again tomorrow. Tonight is supposed to have the coldest temps yet. I’m thinking we’ll brave a quick outing, though. We can only take so much of this trapped inside thing. 

Day 1579 | Snow Day #2

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It really should be called a cold day, I guess. No snow today but man the temps dropped quickly (and it wasn’t warm to begin with). We did manage a trip to the grocery store. It turns out you still have to eat when it’s cold. And Chris and I even snuck out for a dinner with some neighbors (it was planned before we knew just how cold it was going to be)—thanks for watching the boys, Mom! 

No plans to leave the house tomorrow. It’s going to be real ugly out there. Fingers crossed we still like each other when this is all over. I will say, we miss the days when Chris got snow days, too. That’s the real downside of this. Nothing is quite as much fun with a quarter of our team absent.  

Note: This was a screenshot of the temperature when I went up for bed. Wind chill of -42. That’s no joke. 

Day 1578 | Snow Day #1

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That’s right. Today was snow day #1 of at least three this week (school is already cancelled through Wednesday and I’m guessing Thursday will go, too). This snow + cold snap is turning into a second winter break and the boys don’t mind one bit. 

Today was the warmest day of the week (I think it was a windchill of -8 degrees when we ventured out) so I did force the boys outside for some sledding. We bundled up and we’re actually a bit too warm for the activity—I know, I was surprised, too. 

Think warm thoughts for us as we try to stay sane locked in the house for the next few days.  

Day 1577 | Video Games

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Chris has been thinking about buying a Nintendo Switch for a very long time. The boys already know how great it is from playing at their cousins’ house. Today was the day. He finally decided to pull the trigger. And the boys were pumped. So was Chris for the record.  

We had a fun afternoon of playing Mario Kart and Mario Party as a family. See? Video games can bring you closer together! 

Day 1576 | Easel Work

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Robbe’s favorite work at school right now is the “easel work”. Basically he can draw anything he wants on an easel. The availability of the easel has the power to make or break his day (sometimes other kids want to use it, afterall).

Most days he’s lucky enough to come home with a rubberbanded tube of paper that we admire and then store in a cardboard box. Today he went through all the archived easel works and decided he wanted to display some of them. 

He picked his top three and then we found the perfect place to show them off. He was very proud.