You guys. I did the thing.

Dear Sisters,

People used to ask me if I was a runner. Apparently because all tall, slim people must run? I don’t know. Anyway, I am definitely not a runner. I hate running. What do I like? I like to bike, although I do it very seldom and for very short distances. I like to rollerblade, but my ‘blades haven’t seen the light of day in several years. (The level of dust covering the skate bag is rather impressive.) And, as we already discussed, I am learning to love my new mom-bod. But… I also know that I need to be more active somehow, as my current exercise regimen is…um…I don’t have one. And although I don’t mind weighing 10-15 lbs more than I used to, I would like to improve my soggy mid-section. It’s not just an appearance thing; two pregnancies have done a number on the muscles in that whole region, and I’d like to get them back working again. I have also struggled for a long time with maintaining good posture, and I’ve also got major muscle tension in my neck and back.

Enter: The MuTu System. A 12-week program led by a cheerful British lady that’s supposed to be just the ticket for folks like me. Today was Day 1. Will I make it all the way through all 12 weeks?? Here’s hoping.

Gotta go… Duty calls.  (Mama’s coming, Nataboo!)

Sara

Another Blog Post from a Teacher on Summer Break

Hey sisters,

So, we’re all teachers on summer break, to some extent at least, right?

R&R&R: Growing in intensity from June to August.

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I could write a post where I do the math, working out how many hours I work during the year and whether that balances out time off during the summer.

I could write a post about the fact that I don’t actually get paid during the summer, that the district withholds a portion of my salary and then returns it to me in the summer. I could explain that I got a lump repayment in June and won’t see a paycheck again until a month after school starts.

I could tell you that I’m still working this summer, that I’ve already taught at a two-week music camp and will soon be teaching at a two-week theatre camp, while also enrolled in two grad classes.

I’m not going to write that post. I mean, here’s one, if that’s what you’re looking for.

But instead, I’ll just say this. Do I get summers off?

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And you know, what? It’s pretty great. Today, I slept until 8:00 and then went out for coffee. I’m binge watching Law and Order.

And if you’re jealous, maybe you should be a teacher.

😎😎😎 #maybe #maybenot #letsjustsaytheydo

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Livin’ the dream,

Abby

 

“I think the rule is ‘don’t guess at that ever, ever, ever, ever….”

Dear Sisters,

I think I secretly thought that I would never in my life have to spend any time or energy thinking about my weight/shape/etc. I just always seemed to stay thin and light, no matter what I did, ate, etc. After Lydia was born, I was back in my pre-baby clothes in no time. I silently congratulated myself on having a body that was clearly intended to give birth to big, healthy babies, and spring back into shape as if nothing had ever happened. So when Natalie was born, I was confident that I’d be back in my regular clothes in no time, my body no worse for the wear.

Ha.

As it turns out, that was not exactly the case. From a weight standpoint, I really don’t care. Other than the fact that I’m cheap and hate having to replace perfectly good clothes, I’m happy to be a healthier (heavier) weight. What’s bugging me is that my stomach has not bounced back, and depending on what I wear, definitely still looks like I could be in the early stages of pregnancy. I realize this is a common problem, and I didn’t think it was really a big deal. I figured it would come back in time. After all, I’ve now given birth to two large babies, both of whom stayed past their due dates. Things get a bit stretched out. But within the last week, completely out of the blue and unprompted, two people have asked me if I was pregnant/when’s the baby due. UGH.

 

Le sigh… Now I find myself thinking about body image, wanting my daughters to grow up liking how they are made, blah, blah, blah, which, while important, is probably deeper thought than the situation warrants. I had the unfortunate coincidence of having two people make the same faux pas in a week’s time. They both probably feel really bad. And I can choose to forget about it and keep moving.

Except… The reason both of their comments bother me is that it’s something I’m really feeling sensitive about. So now what? My perfectionist tendency towards black-and-white thinking is ready to give up ALL THE THINGS – alcohol, unhealthy food, etc. – and do ALL THE EXERCISE. Which isn’t really the best approach. So I think instead I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, learn to embrace the new mom bod, and see if I can get in some walking and biking this summer.

Please pass the nachos, and the bigger pants.

Sara

shhh…. it’s a secret.

We are not exactly gourmet around our house. Part of it is the kid factor, but most of it is simply that by the time we’ve both made it through a day of school, neither one of us has much motivation to cook. Recently we’ve survived by the grace of two grandmas who love to make and/or pick up food for us.

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One of our more brilliant life choices was motivated by this lack of…motivation. (I’m not even motivated enough to find a different word to use there.) And, like many great ideas, it was inspired by a book.

On Friday nights, we order pizza and have a SECRET PIZZA PARTY.

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I know, I know. Ordering pizza on a Friday night is not exactly earth-shattering. But hear me out. As a special treat, we eat our pizza downstairs, while watching some sort of children’s show. (Usually Clifford.) Well, OK, Lydia watches Clifford, and the adults goof around on their phones and generally chillax. The best part is that the decision factor is completely taken out of the equation. This is what we do on Friday nights. No thought required. Aaron calls or texts when he’s leaving school, I order the pizza using the handy “repeat my last order” button in the app, he picks up the pizza (and stops for a bottle of wine on the way), and ta-da! Dinner. Lydia thinks it’s a fantastic treat, and we love not having to muster the energy for a “real” dinner on Friday night. Win-win.

Stay lazy, my friends. Sometimes it actually turns out to be genius.

The Evolution of Dog Nicknames

Hey sisters,

First of all, both for our sake and the sake of the three people who may visit this site regularly, I feel the need to share our “no judgies” policy. In creating this blog, we were very clear that we are all leading fulfilling and busy lives, and while we enjoy blogging, it is one of those things that will get pushed to the back burner in favor of other priorities. So, I’m back after awhile… but no judgies, k? And with that out of the way…

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Our dog Maggie was named Maggie at the shelter.

Takk, however, was named Scuba Steve. We took this as a clear invitation to take him home, if only to change his name to something more respectable. So we went with Takk, the name of our favorite Sigur Ros album and the Icelandic word for ‘thank you.’

Yesterday, as I let Takk in from the backyard, I casually said, “hey Steve.”

Which got me thinking about the weird evolution of dog nicknames.

Maggie, for example, became Maggie May, then Maggie Moo, and eventually Mo Mo.

Other notable names for the world’s sweetest brown dog were Magdalynn, Magdalonious, and Snufflepupagus.

Scuba Steve, since coming home with us in 2009, has gone by (this is an incomplete list):

  • Takk
  • Takk Takk
  • Takk-a-doodle
  • Doodle
  • Doodlebug
  • Buddy
  • Buddy Buddy
  • Handsome
  • Pretty Boy Floyd
  • Turd Ferguson (it’s a funny name)
  • Dingus

Fry’s nickname Frybot became Fryboat after she developed a habit of setting sail in her dog bed at night: it would start the evening right next to our bed, but by morning it would be several feet away. We called the bed her Fry Boat but the name migrated to her and stuck.

The name I really can’t explain is Bickets. I call Fry “Bickets” all the time now. I think it started as a reference to scratching her furry bum and calling it “itchy bickets.” That’s the best explanation I can come up with.

Do you think the Oxford English Dictionary has the etymology for bickets?

Just don’t call me late for dinner,

Abby

the days of miracle and wonder

Hi Sisters.
The semester is ending for me soon (feel free to be jealous of collegiate schedules for a minute) but that prospect is just not promising much relief at the moment. I’m only taking two classes, so only a few things will drop out of my schedule, and the need to accomplish things in research is unrelenting. Turns out you don’t get a PhD for just showing up and going to class for somewhere between 5 and 100 years. You actually have to DO A THING and contribute to the field in some way and write a thesis. A thesis full of exciting new results! Le sigh. These things have been discouraging lately.

But I’m having a Paul Simon-influenced day, and that’s comforting. I put on an encouraging morning playlist from Spotify while I was getting ready for work this morning, something with a peppy title like “Wake Up Happy!” or “Good Morning Vibes!” or “You Aren’t a Total Failure, I Swear!”, and it included the song “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”. This immediately made me think of that episode of the Muppet show where Paul Simon is a guest and makes a “50 ways to love your lever” joke. I can’t find a clip of that specific moment, but please enjoy this performance (which references the joke!):

So, that was a good start to the day. I listened to “Graceland” on my way back to the library tonight.

There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I’m falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
Oh, so this is what she means
She means we’re bouncing into Graceland

The car ahead of me on this drive had a wonky left blinker; it was hyper-blinking, way too fast.  Abby, remember when the alternator in the Corsica died when we were moving you back into college housing one August? There was the hyper-blinking first, when everything seemed fine, and then the gauges started flailing around, and then the radio died, and then the power steering, and the car itself. Dad was following in the van, but all the seats were out so it could hold your life’s possessions, so Aunt Barb came and picked us up on the side of the highway. I think the sky was the same sort of grumbly gray as it is here today, vaguely ominous and unsettled without being actually threatening.

There’s no point to this story (or this post! haha! fooled you!) besides to say that the blinker on that truck made me think about that ridiculous day, and all the moves we’ve made together, and the way we manage to show up – in any and every sense, both figurative and literal –  to share in each other’s lives, and to say that Paul Simon reminding me that there’s a reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland was enough for today.

love,
Jess (but you can call me Al)

PS Paul Simon is playing in Lincoln in May! I’m thinking of starting a scholarship fund to afford a ticket. Anybody want to chip in?!

Hot Cross Buns

Hey sisters,

Did you learn to play the recorder in elementary school?

O1PmJ

As an elementary music teacher, I am tasked with the job of preparing my students to be active participants in music for the rest of their lives. My goal (stolen from the amazing Dr. John Feierabend) is to make them tuneful, beatful, and artful. I am also responsible for preparing them to be successful in middle school music, whether they choose band, choir, or orchestra. Though it pains me to say so, there is one instrument that really drives all of these concepts home…

THE SOPRANO RECORDER.

It’s a brilliant educational tool- a historical woodwind instrument is affordable, durable, and able to reinforce articulation, rhythm and note reading, breath support, and practice habits.

But have you ever listened to 25 beginning recorder players? (Sara, I imagine you listen to significantly more new violinists, which must be a very similar experience.)

I think teaching the soprano recorder is like eating your vegetables or paying the bills… it’s not always enjoyable, but it’s important. I just hope my ears will forgive me.

One a penny, two a penny,

Abby