Seven (or so) Quick Takes

1. Happy Solstice (yesterday!) everyone! Summer is truly the most glorious time for me, so let us focus on all the great things (sleeping in, porch time, walks, big kids home, pool, iced coffee, garden produce, picnics, peonies) and let us NOT focus on the fact that days are now officially getting shorter because that’s just damn depressing.

2. We are going “Up North” for vacation in a couple of weeks and I somehow invited my dad and grandma to come along and they somehow said yes and now I’m hoping that was a good idea and… well, I’ll report back.

3. My husband is currently on his annual canoe trip with the guys, so I’ve been lone wolf for several day. This is not something I do very often as he doesn’t travel for work or anything. I encourage this trip and am happy he gets to go every year, and I want to be one of those wives that is TOTALLY fine while he’s gone. And I actually AM one of those wives that is totally fine while he’s gone; it’s been NBD these past several days. And it was CERTAINLY less of a deal than the year he went when I was 35-36 weeks pregnant and he was out of phone contact for 4-5 days.

The other moms whose husbands are on this trip and I have planned lots of fun stuff with the kids (dinner and brunch and a kids’ movie and pizza at the pool and a ladies’ night out without the kids and lunch together), and time has gone quickly and smoothly. But today I’m just irritated and ready for him to be home, and now we learned they will be home several hours later than we expected and I’m trying really hard not to be grumpy about it, but I AM.

I’m hoping I won’t be (visibly, anyway) crabby by the time he actually arrives home. Past bedtime. Several hours later than planned. (Did I mention that part?)

Maybe I’ll make him a Welcome Home cake. Because then you know what? I GET CAKE TOO.

4. Shortly after we got Nina (our puppy), I cut about 2 feet of thick (1.5″?) ribbon and safety pinned two large jingle bells to one end. Then we tied a loop on the other end and hung it from the back doorknob. She caught on so quickly that I’m not even sure how we taught her, but she now rings the bell with her nose when she wants to go outside.

Another dog hack: @justexpressive mentioned that she puts peanut butter in a kong and FREEZES IT, and it blew my mind. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Frozen PB kongs occupy Nina so much longer. I love the internet.

5. My 11yos are now reading things like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Fault in Our Stars. It’s finally happening that my girls and I are enjoying the same books! I’ve looked forward to this forever. Also, we all read Wonder this spring. Have you read Wonder? It’s seriously worth the read. I loved it so much, the girls loved it so much (and talked about it so much that several of their friends also read and loved it). David is now reading it to Marin (slowly), and then we are (someday) going to have our first family book club discussion about it.

Marin has also taken off in reading. She moved up more than two grade levels in her reading this past school year and now can be found with her nose in a book at any time of day. I have, like, three main goals in raising my daughters, and one of them is to raise kids that grow to adults that enjoy reading, so you can imagine my joy when they reach the stage of “nose in a book”.

6. Last Monday, I was out doing a few errands and left Joan in charge of the youngest two for a short time (Kate was at a sleepover, if I remember correctly). Anyway, Joan got Olive dressed for the day and put her in underwear. She then took ownership of the project for the rest of the day, taking Olive to the bathroom and giving her tons of positive reinforcement. I pretty much stayed out of it, as my potty training motto has long been “Do Nothing.” Olive had one accident that day, and only two since then (both at friends’ houses where there was lots of kids and distractions, and both just a little bit in her underwear before she came running to tell me.) About 80% of the time she goes to the bathroom without me asking and without telling me at all. She loves to be independent, that little turkey. I do remind her to go if we are about to go on a car ride or something.

And that is the story of how my youngest is now… potty trained? I think? If this streak continues for another week, I’m taking down the changing table. I assume, based on how things went with my other kids (and because of the fact that she naps and falls asleep at night in MY bed) that she will be in diapers/pull-ups for sleeping for a while yet.

7. #GoHugo Seriously. You’ve got this, buddy. I just know it.